Researchers Bioengineer Cells from Testicles to Produce Insulin

December 15th, 2010

Researchers have briefly "cured" Type 1 diabetes in lab mice using cells extracted from the testicles of deceased human donors. The spermatogonial cells used in the experiment normally produce sperm in men. Scientists extracted them from the donors, bioengineered them to act like the beta cells in the pancreas that produce human insulin, and transplanted them into mice. The transplanted cells successfully secreted insulin, reducing blood sugar levels in the mice for about a week.

While exciting, the breakthrough doesn't yet amount to a cure for insulin dependent diabetes in humans. "These cells don't secrete enough insulin to cure diabetes in humans yet," cautions the study's senior researcher G. Ian Gallicano, an associate professor at Georgetown University Medical Center. However, Gallicano is hopeful that transplanting the spermatogonial cells into different parts of the body may lead to longer blood sugar control. "We know spermatogonial stem cells have the potential to do what we want them to do," says Gallicano, and we know how to improve their yield."

The researchers chose to work with spermatogonial cells because they behave a lot like human eggs, and can be chemically instructed to behave like embryonic stem cells. Stem cells are unspecialized or "undifferentiated" cells that have the potential to develop or differentiate into many different types of cells.

Earlier attempts to transplant insulin-producing beta cells (also called islet cells) found in the pancreas achieved some success, but islet cells transplants are handicapped by the body's autoimmune system's attempts to destroy the new tissue, which it sees as an invader. While they no longer require diabetes medication, islet cell transplant recipients must take powerful immunosuppressive drugs with undesirable side effects, including an increased risk of infection and cancer. A major benefit of spermatogonial cell transplants is that they avoid arousing an auto-immune response.

One obvious disadvantage is that the procedure can only be performed in males, although the fundamental approach might be applicable to the female counterpart of sperm-producing cells, oocytes. Another concern is the potential for spermatogonial cell transplant recipients to develop a type of tumor called a teratoma, associated with the abnormal development of germ (reproductive) cells. But Gallicano is convinced that it would take many more spermatogonial cells than would be required to produce insulin to cause such a tumor.

Gallicano and his fellow researchers are hopeful that they've taken the first step towards reducing diabetic hyperglycemia in humans and eliminating the need for diabetes drugs. This gives hope to the almost 24 million Americans with diabetes, one of the leading causes of death in the US. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1, which requires lifelong insulin injections; and the much more common type 2, which can be controlled by diet, exercise, and, if needed, oral diabetes medication. Both types must be managed carefully to avoid serious complications.

Islet Transplantation Eliminates the Need for Insulin Injections

December 15th, 2010

laboartory equipment

Islet cells are sugar-sensing cells in the pancreas that release insulin in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels in the body. In type 1 diabetes, the cells can no longer make insulin because the body's immune system has destroyed them. Type 1 diabetics must take daily insulin injections, usually a complex combination of short and long acting insulin.

Islet cell transplantation involves removing insulin-producing cells from a donor pancreas and transferring them into a person with diabetes. It's a non-surgical procedure in which the donated cells are inserted through a needle directly into the liver. Scientists developed the procedure in the 1960s, but the first islet transplantation attempts didn't take place until the 1990's. To everyone's disappointment, only 8% of the first transplants were successful. The problem was the same faced in other organ or tissue transplants - the recipient's immune system recognized the islets as foreign invaders, and attacked them. Adding to the problem, the anti-rejection drugs in use at the time interfered with insulin's effectiveness.

Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta (U of A) made a major breakthrough in 1999. Using sophisticated islet collection and preparation techniques and improved anti-rejection drugs, they achieved an impressive initial 100% success rate for the first month. But most of their patients eventually had to return to insulin injections as the transplanted islets lost their ability to function, although taking lower doses.

Over ten years later, islet transplantation is still an experimental procedure. Rejection issues remain, and it's difficult to obtain the typically 1 million islet cells needed for one procedure - the equivalent of two pancreases. Islet transplants are currently being performed at 17 research centers across the US, but are not widely available. The procedure is normally restricted to type 1 diabetics between the ages of 18 and 65 who have had diabetes for more than 5 years and have trouble with blood glucose control, resulting in serious complications.

In a successful islet cell transplant, the donor islets make insulin and release it into the patient's bloodstream. They also monitor and stabilize blood sugar levels, eliminating the need for daily insulin injections and frequent blood sugar monitoring. But islet transplant patients must take strong anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives, many of which have serious side effects. Unfortunately, most patients need more than one transplant to produce enough insulin that they can stop taking insulin injections. Although islet transplants still fall short of a cure, a successful procedure improves the quality of life of the patient, and lowers the risk of serious long-term diabetes complications such as stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, and eye and nerve damage.

Progress continues to be made towards better anti-rejection drugs, and improved methods to transplant the cells. Researchers are also attempting to obtain donor islets from other sources such as animals, and even trying to grow islet cells in the laboratory. The University of Wisconsin Health Centre claims about 80% of patients receiving an islet transplant have been able to stop taking insulin completely, and that those that still need insulin injections achieved better glucose control. As the procedure is still so new, the longest known period of insulin independence following a US transplant is 4 years. The pioneering U of A program reports that 15-20% of their patients remain insulin independent for 5 years after treatment, and these results are improving.

In the meantime, most Type 1 diabetics will continue to control their condition with diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and a combination of short and long acting insulin, and to follow the developments in islet transplants with great interest.

Insulin Producing Cell Pouch Approaching Clinical Trials in Humans

January 7th, 2011

A Canadian health sciences company focusing on innovative medical technology has successfully tested an organ-like device containing insulin producing islet cells in animals, and is pursuing FDA approval to conduct clinical trials in humans in 2011. There were no adverse side effects associated with the device during the study, during which the diabetic pigs receiving the insulin delivery system achieved long-term blood sugar control.

Sernova Corporation's patented Cell Pouch System is implanted under the skin, where it develops into what the company refers to as "a tissue engineered pancreas" when infused with islet cells. The islet cells deliver insulin to the body, much as the islet cells of the pancreas do in people and animals without insulin dependent diabetes.

Current islet cell transplantation involves removing insulin-producing cells from a donor pancreas and transferring them through a needle directly into the liver of a person with diabetes. The technology is still considered experimental, and is hampered by the body's immune system, which sees the insulin producing cells as foreign invaders and attempts to reject them. The Cell Pouch protects the cells from the immune system, eliminating the need for powerful anti-rejection drugs, which often have serious side effects. The Cell Pouch would be less costly, and requires only about 10% of the insulin producing islets used in the existing islet cell transplant technique.

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the US. The number of American adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled over the past decade, rising from 9 million to 19 million, largely because of soaring obesity rates. While they are more effective, the newer diabetes medications can cost as much as ten times more than the older generic diabetes drugs. Given the option to both save money and avoid daily insulin injections, most diabetics would welcome the option of the new Cell Pouch.

Sernova Corporation says its Cell Pouch System has the potential to treat a wide range of conditions besides insulin dependent diabetes, including Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and hemophilia.

Injection-Free Insulin Inhaler Awaiting FDA Approval

January 24th, 2011

A new injection-free insulin inhaler is awaiting FDA approval for the treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Insulin can't be taken orally, as digestive juices break it down before it can be used by the body. Currently, the only means of delivering insulin are subcutaneous insulin injections or intravenously.

AFREZZA is an ultra-rapid acting inhaled insulin developed by MannKind Corporation. It uses patented Technospere technology to deliver powdered insulin from a thumb-sized device into the lungs. The lungs are an effective option for delivering diabetes medication, largely because of their huge surface area (about the size of a single tennis court).

AFREEZA is a short-acting mealtime insulin, meaning type 1 diabetics will need to combine it with long-acting insulin for complete diabetes control. Clinical trial participants using the new insulin inhaler experienced less hypoglycemia and weight gain than did controls using a standard combination of long-acting glargine insulin and twice a day 70 30 insulin injections.

Generex Biotechnology Corporation also has a rapid-acting insulin spray in clinical trials. Oral-lyn is a buccal spray insulin which is absorbed through the buccal mucosa (mucous membranes on the inside of the cheeks), bypassing the lungs and quickly entering the blood stream. The inhaled insulin is sprayed in the mouth just before meals, delivering about one unit of human insulin per spray. If approved, it may be the only medication needed by many type 2 diabetics.

Oral-lyn's patented inhalation device resembles an asthma inhaler. Steven Elkman was an Oral-Lyn study participant who successfully managed his type 2 diabetes with the experimental spray insulin. Elkman loved how discreet the inhaler is. "Nobody really notices because so many people use inhalators for asthmatic medication," he says, "It doesn't really attract any attention."

The FDA actually approved the first inhaled insulin, called Exubera, to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes in 2006. It was a short-acting powdered form of recombinant human insulin, delivered into the lungs through an insulin inhaler. But the new system of insulin delivery never really caught on, and Pfizer dropped the novel diabetes medication from the market a year later. AFREZZA is easier to use, faster acting and boasts better bioavailability than Exubera, enabling diabetics to achieve better insulin levels using smaller amounts.

Patients in clinical trials of the new inhaled insulins have reported enhanced quality of life, overall satisfaction, and greater acceptance of being insulin dependent. Dr. Larry Deeb, a pediatric endrocrinologist from the University of Florida College of Medicine, says that finding an alternative to insulin injections is crucial, especially for children and the needle-phobic. "Insulin administration is a huge issue for people with diabetes," he stresses, "You have to appreciate the fear [of injections]. Insulin omission is one of the major issues in diabetes."

Kudzu Used as Diabetes Medication in Chinese Medicine

January 24th, 2011

Kudzu is a herb used in Chinese medicine to treat diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, colds, fever, menopausal symptoms and neck or eye pain. It's also referred to as kudsu, pueraria, or Japanese arrowroot. Both the flowers and the root have medicinal properties.

There is evidence that one of several isoflavones in kudzu, puerarin, improves insulin resistance. Kudzu appears to have additive effects when used with diabetes medication, assisting in lowering blood sugar levels. Puerarin's ability to thin the blood and improve blood flow is also believed beneficial in diabetic retinopathy.

According to research published the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2009, researchers from the University of Alabama who addied kudzu root extract to the diets of laboratory rats think the herb could be valuable in treating metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that contribute to heart disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus.

The researchers say that the puerarin in kudzu regulates blood sugar levels by directing it away from fat cells and blood vessels to places in the body where it is beneficial, like muscles. "Our findings show that puerarin helps to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol," reports the study's lead author, Dr. J. Michael Weiss, "But perhaps the greatest effect we found was its ability to regulate [blood sugar]."

"Kudzu root may prove to be a strong complement to existing medications for insulin regulation or blood pressure," adds the study's co-author Dr. Jeevan Prasain, "Physicians may be able to lower dosages of such drugs, making them more tolerable and cheaper."

Kudzu was first brought to the US from Japan in the late 1800s. It can now be found in many parts of the country, most commonly in the south eastern regions, where it has become an unwelcome weed. It's a climbing, trailing vine whose out of control growth makes it quite invasive, earning it the names "the mile a minute plant", and "the vine that ate the South". Southerners claim that they must keep their windows closed at night to keep the kudzu out.

During World War II, American forces seeking a fast-growing plant to camouflage their equipment introduced kudzu to Fiji and nearby Vanuata, where it is now also a major weed. Kudzu remains respected and enjoyed in China and Japan, where it is a common ingredient in medicines and foods.

Because of its impact on blood sugar, it's important that diabetics taking either oral diabetes medication or insulin injections monitor their blood glucose levels carefully if taking the herb. Because kudzu has estrogenic effects, it should not be taken along with tamoxifen or by anyone with hormone sensitive cancer.

Asthma Inhalers Increase Risk of Diabetes and Insulin Resistance

January 25th, 2011


Use of asthma inhalers containing corticosteroids has been linked to a 34% increase of developing type 2 diabetes, and to accelerated diabetes progression in those already diagnosed with the condition. Higher dose inhalers were linked to even higher risks - a 64% increase in type 2 diabetes diagnoses, and a 34% increase in existing diabetes progressing to the point of requiring insulin therapy.

Theses figures came out of a large Canadian study of the records of more than 380,000 asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients treated with inhaled corticosteroids. "Patients instituting therapy with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids should be assessed for possible hyperglycemia, and treatment with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids limited to situations where the benefit is clear," warn the researchers, from the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University in Montreal.

More than 30,000 of the asthma/COPD patients included in the study were diagnosed with diabetes over a span of five and a half years -over 14 patients per 1000 inhalers. Nearly 2100 patients who had been previously diagnosed with diabetes experienced a deterioration in their condition, going from controlling blood sugar with oral diabetes medication torelying on insulin injections.

Dr. Stuart Weiss, an endocrinologist at the New York Medical Center makes the point that the issue may be a common underlying cause of both diabetes and asthma/COPD, rather than corticosteroids. "We know that steroids increase insulin resistance, and that people treated with steroids require more aggressive diabetes management," he says, "What may be at the root of this problem is the fact that those who are most at risk for diabetes are the same people who have the worst asthma and COPD that requires steroid treatment in the first place." Weiss believes that "the overconsumption of processed foods and the lack of consumption of green vegetables" lead to pre-inflammatory conditions that raise the risk of both diabetes and asthma/COPD. He warns that if Americans don't improve their diets "the incidence of both these diseases will continue to go up at a dramatic rate."

DR. Rohit Katial, a professor of medicine at National Jewish Health, is concerned that the study contained no information about obesity, a significant risk factor for both diabetes and respiratory problems. "For the people on higher doses of medications, was their BMI (body mass index) higher? We don't know."

What the medical experts do agree upon is the need for doctors to prescribe the lowest possible dose of corticosteroids to asthma and COPD patients, and to educate patients about the risks of insulin resistance, becoming insulin dependent, and the possible need for more intensive insulin therapy.

Diabetes and Depression are a "Double Whammy" That Lower Life Expectancy

January 25th, 2011

A ten-year study of almost 80,000 women conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health established a disturbing link between diabetes, depression and the risk of premature death. Women with diabetes had a 35% increased risk of death; women with depression had a 44% increased risk of dying; and those with both diabetes and depression were at almost double the risk of death as women with neither condition.

The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (heart disease) were even more startling, especially for women with diabetes. Diabetics were at a 67% greater risk of dying from heart disease; depressed women were at a 35% increased risk, and women with both conditions faced a 270% greater risk of dying from heart disease than the general population. The study's lead researcher, Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Frank Hu, calls the combination of diabetes and depression "double whammies". "People with both conditions are at very high risk of death," he stresses.

Previous studies have shown that diabetics are more than twice as likely as the average population to suffer from depression, especially diabetics who are insulin dependent. Conversely, depression has been discovered to be a risk factor for diabetes. Women with depression are about 17% more likely to develop diabetes than non-depressed women, and those who taking antidepressant medication are at 25% greater risk.

But the link between diabetes and depression remains "chicken and egg". Does having a chronic illness requiring lifestyle restrictions and complicated insulin therapy like diabetes cause depression, or are people with depression more prone to developing diabetes? Do antidepressants have an impact on blood sugar levels? Does diabetes medication set the stage for depression? Do diabetics who are depressed neglect the self care necessary for effective diabetes control? Or do both conditions have an underlying cause or causes in common, such as stress, smoking, poor diet, and a lack of exercise?

"People usually think of these as two isolated conditions, but there is growing evidence that they are linked behaviorally and biologically," says Hu, "This date provides strong evidence that we should not consider these two isolated conditions any longer."

"The combination of diabetes and depression needs to be addressed," agrees Dr. Luigi Meneghini of the University of the Miami Miller School of Medicine Diabetes Research Institute. Meneghini points out that many diabetics with depression go undiagnosed, and stresses the need for more awareness among both doctors and patients.

Whatever the connections between diabetes, depression, and depression and diabetes medication, it's well established that a healthy weight, a healthy diet and regular exercise reduce the risk and treat the symptoms of both conditions.

Researchers Study Vinegar as a Preventative Diabetes Medication

January 25th, 2011

apple cider vinegarVinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, has long been prescribed as a natural treatment for various ailments, including acne, allergies, asthma, arthritis, indigestion, insect stings, night time leg cramps, hypertension, warts, sore throat, cold sores, burns, sunburns, and even hiccups. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used vinegar as an antiseptic and antibiotic 1000's of years ago. Diabetics drank vinegar teas for blood glucose control before the invention of modern day diabetes medications.

Professor Carol Johnston, a nutritionist at the Arizona State University, has been studying the benefits of vinegar as a diabetes medication, researching its effect on blood glucose levels. Johnston and her fellow researchers performed three separate studies over a number of years.

In the first study, they gave people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes (a pre-diabetic state associated with insulin resistance), and healthy controls four teaspoons of apple cider vinegar just before a high carbohydrate breakfast. The vinegar slowed the rise of blood sugar levels in the type 2 diabetics almost 20%. Those with prediabetes experienced an even greater benefit, with their rise in blood sugar slowed almost 35%. Even the healthy study participants experienced lower blood sugar and insulin spikes than the control group that was not given vinegar.

"Both the blood glucose and insulin were better managed after the meal when they consumed vinegar," says Johnston, "It appears that the vinegar mimics the action of both acarbose [generic Precose] and metformin [generic Glucophage], which are two of the commonly prescribed medications for diabetics." Johnston suspects it's the acetic acid in the vinegar that helps with diabetes control. "The acetic acid in vinegar may inhibit enzymes that digest starch, so that carbohydrate molecules aren't available for absorption", she theorizes.

In a follow up study, participants with type 2 diabetes who did not require insulin injections but were taking oral diabetes medications were given either two tablespoons of vinegar or water with an ounce of cheese before going to bed. Those given the vinegar at saw their fasting blood sugar levels reduced an average 4% the next morning. Those with the highest fasting blood sugar levels achieved the most benefit, experiencing a drop of 6%.

In the most recent study, researchers concentrated on the effects of vinegar on healthy participants. They fed both healthy participants and diabetics a standard evening meal, and then a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates with or without vinegar following an overnight fast. The non-diabetics given vinegar with their meals had a 20% reduction in post-meal blood sugar levels compared to those who weren't given vinegar. Two teaspoons of vinegar was determined to be the most effective amount, taken with the meal instead of before eating.

In a welcome but unexpected twist, participants given the vinegar in the longer-term study also lost weight. "The group that got the vinegar lost several pounds on average," said Johnston. Obesity and insulin resistance are closely related to each other, and to diabetes. Unrelated studies have shown that improving insulin sensitivity in pre-diabetics can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. If something as simple as a couple of teaspoons of vinegar before meals could help address both obesity and high blood sugar, vinegar could gain recognition as a cost-effective oral diabetes medication. "Further investigations to determine the efficacy of vinegar as an antidiabetic therapy are warranted, says Johnston." As many who could benefit from vinegar are put off by its strong taste and the quality of existing vinegar supplements such as capsules is inconsistent, Johnston's team is now working on a more palatable medicinal vinegar tablet.

Long-Acting Insulin Best at Controlling Blood Sugar

February 3rd, 2011

blood glucose testing

As type 2 diabetes progresses, oral diabetes medication doses typically need to be adjusted upwards over time, and a good many type 2 diabetics can expect to end up insulin dependent. There does not appear to be any clear consensus on how best to introduce insulin injections in addition to oral diabetes medications - three times a day with meals, twice daily injections, or a single daily long-acting insulin injection.

Professor Rury Holman, director of the Diabetes Trial Unit at Oxford University, was the principal investigator of a large scale study conducted to determine how best to introduce insulin to control blood sugar levels as type 2 diabetes progresses. "Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition with the majority of patients eventually requiring insulin therapy," Holman explains.

Holman and his fellow researchers recruited over 700 type 2 diabetes patients whose current medications were not effectively controlling their blood sugar levels. The patients were divided randomly into three groups to compare the effectiveness of the different insulin dosing regimens, and monitored for three years. After the first year, those patients who were still not achieving the necessary blood glucose control were moved to a more complex insulin therapy.

At the end of the three years, the researchers concluded that once-a-day basal insulin and three-times-a-day mealtimes injections were both more effective at controlling blood sugar levels than twice-daily insulin injections. In addition, those who took the once-daily basal insulin had fewer incidents of low blood sugar than those taking three-times-a-day mealtime insulin.

As a result, the researchers advise those beginning insulin therapy to start with a basal insulin, and add a mealtime insulin if required for what they term "the best combination of effectiveness, safety, and treatment satisfaction". "This large scale study strengthens guidelines recommending adding a basal insulin to oral agents when glycemic targets are not met," says Holman.

Texas Researchers Hopeful They Can Eliminate the Need For Insulin Therapy

February 4th, 2011

dna strand

Research conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center raises the exciting prospect of eliminating the need for insulin in type 1 diabetics by "turning off" the hormone glucagon, which plays a major role in blood sugar regulation.

Like insulin, glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Glucagon has the opposite effect of insulin, increasing blood glucose levels rather than lowering them. The pancreas releases glucagon when blood sugar is low, causing the liver to release glucose into the blood stream, and stimulating the release of insulin.

Glucagon prevents low blood sugar in healthy people, but causes high blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes, whose pancreas can't produce enough insulin to counteract its effect. A synthetic version of glucagon is used to treat severe low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, in diabetics in emergency situations.

The UT Southwestern researchers genetically altered laboratory mice so that they lacked working glucagon receptors and couldn't react to glucagon. They then gave the mice the glucose tolerance test used to diagnose diabetes. Mice with normal insulin levels but non-working glucagon receptors responded normally to the test.

When their insulin-producing islet cells were destroyed and they lacked both insulin and the ability to use glucagon, they were still able to stabilize their blood sugar, again testing normally. Blocking the action of glucagon essentially made insulin unnecessary for the mice - despite the lack of both glucagon and insulin, the mice did not develop diabetes.

"We've all been brought up to think insulin is the all-powerful hormone without which life is impossible," says researcher and professor of internal medicine Dr. Roger Unger, "But that isn't the case. This doesn't mean that insulin is unimportant - it's essential for normal growth and development. But in adulthood, at least with respect to glucose metabolism, the role of insulin is to control glucagon. If you don't have glucagon, then you don't need insulin."

Insulin injections have been the treatment of choice for type 1 diabetes since its introduction in 1922. But insulin is a treatment, not a cure, and can't restore normal glucose tolerance as blocking the glucagon receptors did in the laboratory mice. It now appears that insulin's benefit results from its suppression of glucagon, and that the blocking of glucagon action restores glucose tolerance to normal.

In the next all-important step, the researchers will be studying the mechanism behind the results to determine how to turn off the glucagon receptors in humans. "If these latest findings were to work in humans, injected insulin would no longer be necessary for people with type 1 diabetes," states Dr. Unger, "If diabetes is defined as restoration of glucose homeostasis to normal, then this treatment can perhaps be considered very close to a cure."

Numerous Non-Invasive Glucose Monitors under Development

February 9th, 2011

Diabetics are still awaiting a reliable, non-invasive means of blood glucose monitoring - one that doesn't require breaking the skin or confirmation with a traditional monitoring method. The latest continuous glucose monitoring technology involves small sensors implanted in the skin that must be calibrated several times a day, and replaced every few days to a week to avoid infection. Because the blood sugar testers are implanted into the skin, the body sees the sensors as foreign objects, and frequently forms scar tissue around them.

The FDA approved one non-invasive monitor in the 2002 - the GlucoWatch Biographer. Worn on the wrist like a watch, the device used a small electric current to draw fluid through the skin, and a sensor to analyze the fluid's blood glucose levels. But at least half of the diabetics that used the product complained of skin irritation and sores, and the product was discontinued in 2007.

Despite the GlucoWatch disappointment, diabetics should not give up hope of being able to avoid multiple daily finger pricks to keep track of their blood sugar. Numerous non-invasive blood glucose monitors using different technologies are currently in development, including:

1) GlucoTrack - Integrity Application's GlucoTrack employs three different technologies: ultrasonic, conductivity and heat capacity. The device contains a main unit, a transmitter, a receiver and processor, and a sensor-containing ear clip. The main unit can support and store blood sugar readings for up to three users.

2) Symphony - Developed by Echo Therapeutics, Symphony is a biochemical sensor-based transdermal continuous glucose monitoring system with a wireless handheld device that reads the sensor's measurements.

3) Multisensor Glucose Monitoring System - Developed by Solianis Monitoring, this system delivers continuous information on glucose variations using impedance spectroscopy - a technology that uses frequencies to measure the effect of changes in blood glucose levels.

4) Portable blood glucose meter - Grove Instruments is working on miniaturizing a prototype blood glucose monitor which delivers a reading using Optical Bridge technology. The user simply inserts his or her finger into a port to obtain an optically assessed blood sugar test reading in less than 25 seconds.

5) Glucose Monitor Tattoo - Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing a continuous glucose monitoring "tattoo" in which florescent nanoparticle ink is injected under the skin. The ink fluoresces in response to glucose when an infrared light is shone on it, telling a small monitor how much it detected.

6) Electronic thumb-pad sensor - Texas' Baylor University researchers are testing an electronic thumb-pad sensor which detects blood glucose by measuring changes when electromagnetic energy waves pass through the skin.

7) I-SugarX - Freedom Meditech is pioneering the I-SugarX, an ophthalmic medical device which monitors changes in the eye to determine glucose levels. The user gazes into a handheld device which shines a light on the eye for less than a second, and then displays a digital blood glucose reading.

8) Near infrared optical spectroscopy - Inlight Solutions is developing devices that use near infrared optical spectroscopy and multi-variate analysis to measure blood glucose levels. The technology employs a light source, an optical detector, and a spectrometer.

9) LighTouch Technology - Uses a glucose test technology that projects a specific color of light onto a patient's finger, and analyses the different colored light that is "re-projected" back from the finger to measure blood glucose levels.

Handling Fruit Can Result in Inaccurate Blood Glucose Test

February 15th, 2011

Japanese researchers are warning diabetics of the risk of "pseudohypergylcemia" when testing blood sugar after eating or handling fruit. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care demonstrated how fruit sugars can stay on the hands even after the fingers are swabbed with alcohol, causing an artificially high blood glucose test reading.

Researchers from the Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine in Tokyo measured the blood sugar levels of ten non-diabetic volunteers, using a standard glucose monitor to test blood samples taken from a fingertip. They then asked the volunteers to peel oranges, grapes and kiwi fruit.

After the volunteers peeled the fruit, the researchers measured their blood glucose levels three more times - before they washed their hands, after they swabbed their hands with alcohol wipes, and after they washed their hands under running water.

Blood glucose levels taken before the volunteers handled the fruit were normal (an average 90 milligrams per deciliter (90 mg/dl). Glucose test results after they handled the fruit and before they cleaned their hands showed high blood sugar levels - around 360 mg/dl after peeling a grape, 180 mg/dl after peeling a kiwi, and 170 mg/dl after peeling an orange.

Even after they swabbed their hands with alcohol (the recommended practice for a diabetic before testing blood sugar), their blood sugar readings were higher than normal. Surprisingly, the volunteers were still receiving inaccurate blood sugar readings after swabbing five times. It was only after washing their hands under running water that their blood glucose readings returned to normal.

Diabetics rely on accurate blood glucose test results to determine how much diabetes medication to take. A diabetic who handled or ate fruit before conducting their blood sugar test could get an incorrect reading and give themselves an unneeded insulin injection, resulting in low blood sugar.

The take away message for diabetics - don't rely on alcohol swabs alone to clean your hands, and always wash them with soap and water before testing blood sugar. In the words of the study authors, "To avoid overestimation of blood glucose using portable monitors, their hands should be washed before monitoring capillary blood glucose, especially after fruit has been handled."

New Ultra Long Acting Insulin Could End the Need for Daily Injections

February 18th, 2011

insulin syringe

Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk has completed clinical testing of a new generation of ultra long acting insulin, called insulin degludec. More than 10,000 type 1 and type 2 diabetics from 40 different countries participated in 17 different trials.

Trial results consistently showed Degludec to be as effective in lowering blood sugar as the current most widely used long acting insulin, Sanofi-Aventis' Lantus (insulin glargine), with no difference in adverse effects.

More importantly, trial participants given Degludec experienced significantly fewer episodes of hypoglycemia than those given Lantus, especially potentially dangerous night time hypoglycemia. Trials with type 2 diabetics saw a decrease in nighttime hypoglycemia of over 35 percent, and trials with type 1 diabetics of 40 percent.

Degludec is effective for up to 40 hours, roughly twice as long as insulin glargine. Lantus is said to be effective for 18 to 26 hours, although some users report a shorter efficacy. The only other long acting insulin on the market, Novo Nordisk's Levemir (insulin detemir), has a similar action period. Like Lantus and Levemir, Degludic's action is flat, without pronounced peaks in effectiveness.

The new insulin is released so slowly and steadily into the body that it may allow some diabetics to go from daily injections to just three injections a week. Degludic's long and steady action is attributable to the fact it forms a "depot" of soluble multi-hexamers when injected under the skin, from which the insulin is slowly and steadily absorbed into the body.

At the same time, Novo Nordisk is also developing Degludec Plus, the first combination of a long acting insulin (or basal insulin) with a rapid acting (or bolus) insulin, insulin aspart. Until now, it hasn't been possible to combine a basal insulin and a bolus insulin in one single injection.

Lantus (insulin glargine) currently leads the market, generating sales of almost $4 billion a year globally. Levemir (insulin detemir) lags far behind in sales. Now that the phase 3 trials have been completed, Novo Nordisk will be seeking FDA approval for both Degludec and Degludec Plus in 2011, and hopes to begin marketing the new diabetes medications in 2013. Degludec is expected to be marketed at a higher price than Lantus, because of its reduced incidence of hypoglycemia and potential need for less frequent insulin injections.

For more information on Degludec and Degludec Plus, click this Global Medical News video link.

Researchers Able to Decrease Insulin Resistance in Mice

February 25th, 2011

blue swirl
Science Daily reported today that a research team from La Jolla Institute has shed new light on the problem of insulin resistance, a discovery that may lead to new therapies to reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes.

Recently, type 2 diabetes has been linked to chronic low grade inflammation. The La Jolla team identified an immune system signaling molecule called adenosine that contributes to insulin resistance by triggering inflammation, and was able to decrease insulin resistance in mice by blocking the actions of the molecule.

Click here >Science Daily< to read the full article.

Diabetes Medications May Hold the Clue for New Weight Loss Drugs

March 4th, 2011

Barbie doll with tape measure
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are "one step closer to developing effective, FDA-approved treatments for obesity", according to Matthew Hayes, PhD, of the University's School of Medicine. The researchers say current type 2 diabetes medications may hold the clue for new anti-obesity drugs.

Hayes and his team are the first to identify the body mechanisms that produce the feeling of being full, or satiety. This mechanism helps explain why type 2 diabetes medications which target a hormone for insulin production called GLP-1 often promote weight loss, presumably by causing diabetes patients to feel fuller and eat less.

Read the whole story here>Science Daily<.

Animus Issues Urgent Recall Notice to Insulin Pump Users

March 12th, 2011

In a rare development that all insulin dependent diabetics should be aware of, Johnson & Johnson has recalled around 384,000 cartridges for its Animus Insulin Pump.

To date, twenty-two injuries have been reported as a result of faulty insulin pump cartridges leaking at the side where the plunger is. The leaks can result in the diabetic using the cartridge receiving a lower insulin dosage than they intended.

Johnson & Johnson has posted an urgent notice on their Animus division website warning consumers to check their cartridge supply and to stop using any of the 2.0 ml cartridges in question immediately. It is also contacting insulin pump users, or as they refer to them, "insulin pumpers", that may have purchased the faulty cartridges, and shipping them replacement cartridges. The website notice reads in part:

Please note that under-delivery of insulin can cause high blood sugar and/or diabetic ketoacidosis. These are serious conditions that can cause severe health impact, including death. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and excess thirst/urination. Contact your healthcare professional immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Ketoacidosis usually develops slowly over 24 hours, starting with symptoms such as fatigue, mental stupor, decreased appetite, loss of appetite, headache, and fading consciousness. Other ketoacidosis symptoms all insulin dependent diabetics should be aware of include stomach or abdominal pain, a flushed complexion, and breath that smells like fruit or nail polish remover.

The insulin cartridge recall extends to the US and France. The recall applies only to lot numbers B201575, B201576, B201581, B201582 and B201583. The insulin pump cartridges in questions were shipped between November 30th, 2010 and January 4th, 2011.

Animas has provided the following instructions for insulin pumpers diabetics with a recalled insulin cartridge who need to disconnect their infusion sets:

1) Disconnect the infusion set from your body (failure to follow these important safety instructions can lead to unintended delivery of insulin).

2) Unscrew the cartridge cap, leaving the tubing connected to the cartridge.

3) With the tubing connected to the cartridge, pull the cartridge straight out of your insulin pump.

4) Disconnect tubing from cartridge, set the cartridge aside to return to Animas.

5) Fill a new cartridge from an unaffected lot not listed above, and attach infusion set tubing.

6) While still disconnected, rewind, load the cartridge and prime.

7) Connect tubing to site once prime is complete.

8)Fill cannula only if you have inserted a new infusion set.

Animas Customer Support can also be reached by phone toll-free at 877-937-7867.

Artificial Pancreas Awaiting FDA Approval for Clinical Testing

March 26th, 2011

The artificial pancreas is a unique combination of three main closed-loop components:

1) A continuous glucose monitor for ongoing blood sugar levels and patterns

2) A programmable computerized insulin pump

3) An advanced computer algorithm (formula) that can calculate how much insulin the body needs, and when it needs it

Although just the "research and development first step" towards a fully functioning artificial pancreas, the insulin delivery system now awaiting approval for clinical trials is, according to Animas' Chief Medical Officer and director of Project Manya, Dr. Henry Anhalt, "leaps and bounds above technology that is currently available."

Anholt points out that current insulin pumps, which he calls "unintelligent", can monitor blood glucose and dispense insulin, but still require users to input and interpret a lot of data. While some decisions will still have to be made by users until the device is fully automated, Anholt says the new artificial pancreas can "assist the patient and in many ways, take over the decision-making process".

Once perfected, the new technology will have a monumental impact on the quality of life of insulin dependent diabetics. Not only will the new insulin delivery system simplify the constant challenge of controlling blood sugar, accurate insulin dosing and administering insulin injections, the resulting tight blood sugar control will help ward off a host of diabetes complications such as blindness, nerve damage, amputations and kidney and heart disease.

New Hormone Pathway May Replace Insulin Therapy for Diabetes

March 28th, 2011

Researchers have discovered a hormone pathway that they are hopeful may eventually lead to new type 1 diabetes treatments to replace insulin therapy. Currently, America's approximately one million type 1 diabetics rely on multiple insulin injections per day to control their blood sugar.

The pathway involves a hormone with insulin-like characteristics called fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF 19). Unlike insulin, FGF 19 does not cause excess glucose to be stored as fat, also raising the prospect of a new anti-obesity treatment.

To read the whole story, click here >Science Daily<.

International Diabetes Association Supports Bariatric Surgery as Treatment Option in Diabetes Control

March 31st, 2011


The International Diabetes Association (IDA) has taken the position that bariatric (weight loss) surgery should be considered early on as a cost-effective treatment option to avoid serious complications in type 2 diabetics who are moderately or severely obese.

The IDA 2011 position statement was released around the same time that the FDA expanded the approval of the Lap-Band Adjustable Gastric Banding System procedure for use in a wider range of obese patients, including diabetics.

The Lap-Band procedure was first approved by the FDA in 2001 for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or for those with a BMI of 35 and at least one other serious obesity-related condition, such as diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure.

Lap-Band gastric banding is now approved for those with a BMI of 30 to 35. But bariatric surgery of any kind should only be used when conventional methods weight loss methods such as diet and exercise have failed. Any such surgery must be accompanied by long-term lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to be successful.

Both gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy are minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries, performed through small incisions in the abdomen. In gastric banding surgery, an inflatable silicone device is place on the top portion of the stomach to create a small pouch.

This pouch will only hold about ½ cup of food, as opposed to the 6 cups a normal stomach will hold. The smaller stomach not only helps the patient eat less by making them feel full sooner, it also slows the passage of food into the rest of the stomach and the digestive tract. As the patient loses (or gains) weight, the band is adjusted to maintain comfort and effectiveness.

In a sleeve gastrectomy, the stomach is surgically reduced to about one-quarter of its normal size, leaving it the shape of a narrow "sleeve" or tube. The portion of the stomach that is removed secretes an appetite hormone called Ghrelin. Once removed, the patient's appetite is said to decrease. The procedure is irreversible.

A gastric bypass is a more complicated irreversible gastrointestinal surgery in which a pouch is created at the top of the stomach, and then connected directly to the middle of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper intestine, or duodenum. The part of the intestines that is bypassed is where vitamins and minerals are the most easily absorbed, meaning patients must guard against nutritional deficiencies following a gastric bypass.

Studies published in the Archives of Surgery comparing the newer laparoscopic gastric banding surgery and sleeve gastrectomy to the conventional gastric bypass surgery found that, while conventional bypass surgery resulted in higher weight loss, the less invasive Lap-Band procedure was "safer", with fewer complications.

Many bariatric surgery experts believe that surgery which bypasses the duodenum is the most effective for diabetes control because the duodenum plays a role in insulin resistance, and bypassing it reduces insulin resistance in patients with diabetes mellitus. A gastric bypass also results in the most weight loss. "It's very clear - bypass is better than band, period," states bariatric surgeon Dr. Guilherme M. Campos from the University of the Wisconsin School of Medicine, "And if you are diabetic with obesity, the best treatment is a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass."

Actos Lowers Risk of Developing Diabetes in Those with Prediabetes

April 5th, 2011

prescription actosA commonly prescribed diabetes medication dramatically lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a recent study of over 600 people with prediabetes, or high blood sugar. Study participants taking the oral diabetes medication Actos experienced a 72 percent reduction in diabetes risk.

Actos, or generic pioglitazone, helps control blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. Increasing insulin sensitivity can have a dramatic impact on diabetes risk, according to the researchers.

To read the entire story online on WebMD, click >HERE<.

Diabetes Medication May Treat Alcohol Addiction

April 6th, 2011

empty alcohol bottle

Actos, an oral diabetes medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, may play a future role in combating alcohol addiction. Actos belongs to a class of medications called thiazolidinediones, or TZDs (also known as glitazones). TZDs reduce insulin resistance by binding to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, or PPARs. They also activate PPAR-g, a sub-class receptor which may play a role in the brain's reward circuits involved in addiction.

"As we learn more about the brain, we are seeing a growing number of examples where medications developed initially for purposes unrelated to psychiatry may have new and otherwise unexpected applications," writes Dr. John Krystal, the Editor of Biological Psychiatry, "New data in animal models suggest that TZDs might be promising agents in the fight against addiction."

Research is also ongoing in the use of commonly prescribed cholesterol medications in fighting nicotine addiction. To read the whole article in Science Daily, click >HERE<.

Ten Percent of European Type 2 Diabetics have Gene Mutation

April 12th, 2011


An international study found that nearly ten percent of Europeans with Type 2 diabetes have a mutation in a gene called HMGA1. HMGA1 regulates how the body responds to insulin. The gene mutation causes insulin resistance, a condition where the body can no longer use insulin effectively.

This finding, which was published in the March 2011 Journal of the American Medical Association, has important significance in screening for and treating type 2 diabetes in the future, and may lead to better diabetes medications. To read the whole story online at WebMD,click >HERE<.

Insulin Therapy Changing With New and Improved Insulin Delivery Methods

April 14th, 2011

An old insulin syringe
Not that long ago, being insulin dependent meant you had to carry around a syringe and a vial of insulin to deliver your insulin injections, making sure to keep them refrigerated. There are now a variety of methods for insulin delivery on the market, and some promising new developments on the horizon. These include:

1) Insulin pens. Most types of insulin are now available in convenient prefilled pens. Some insulin pens are entirely disposable when empty, and others use a replaceable insulin cartridge, usually containing 300 units. There is a dial on one end to set your desired dose. The pens offer discreet, push button insulin delivery. Some claim the injections are more comfortable than from a needle that has already been dulled by insertion into an insulin vial. Many people prefer to use an insulin pen if they are caring for a diabetic child or pet.

2) Insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are a device about the size of a pager that adhere to the skin and are worn 24/7. Insulin pumps contain an insulin reservoir, a battery powered pump, and a programmable computer chip that allows the user to control insulin dosing.

The pumps is attached to a thin plastic tube called a cannula, which is inserted just under the skin to deliver insulin subcutaneously and continuously. Insulin pump technology is constantly being improved upon. The newer pumps are smaller, and can "communicate" and interact with a continuous blood glucose monitor and computer software for state of the art blood sugar control.

3) Insulin jet injectors. Insulin jet injectors deliver a fine jet of high pressure insulin directly through the skin. The main advantage is that that the insulin delivery system requires no needles. The major disadvantage is that many diabetics find the force required for the insulin to permeate the skin is painful, and may cause bruising. Jet injectors have been on the market since 1979, but have yet to become popular.

4) Insulin patch. The FDA has just approved a new insulin delivery patch. The new device, Finesse, is a small plastic patch-pen roughly 2 inches long and an inch wide that is attached to the skin like a bandage. It can be worn under your clothes, and remains attached during routine activities like sleeping, exercising and even showering.

Patients use a syringe to pre-fill the patch-pen with a three-day supply of insulin, and simply push two buttons to dispense a dose of fast-acting insulin when needed. The insulin is delivered in seconds through a miniature, flexible plastic tube inserted painlessly into the skin. The manufacturer, Calibra is also working on a patch-pen that would deliver a .05 unit insulin dose for children.

5) Inhaled insulin. The FDA approved the first insulin inhaler, Exubera, in 2006. It was a short-acting insulin delivered to the lungs through a device similar to an asthma inhaler. But it never achieved market success, and was discontinued a year later.

But research on inhaled insulin continued, and two new forms are poised to hit the market. One is an insulin inhaler, AFREZZA, which is awaiting FDA approval. The other is an insulin spray which is absorbed through the mouth, called Oral-Lyn. Oral-Lyn is in Phase 111 clinical trials in Europe and North America.

Despite some obvious advantages to the new insulin delivery methods, tried and true insulin syringes remain the most popular way to deliver insulin injections with most insulin dependent diabetics, who no longer consider injections a big deal.

Insulin pens, insulin pumps, and insulin jet injectors are all more costly than insulin syringes, and not always covered by medical insurance.Not all types of insulin are available in insulin pens, and you can't mix insulin types in a pen.

Insulin pumps can kink or otherwise malfunction, posing the danger of inaccurate insulin dosing, and are just too "high tech" for some diabetics. Many diabetics remain skeptical of devices like insulin inhalers and sprays after Exubera's spectacular lack of success.

Still, with the advances being made in insulin pumps, and the pending introduction of an improved inhaled insulin and the insulin patch, the world of insulin therapy is definitely changing - and most would say for the better.

The Top Ten Diabetes Research Stories of 2010

April 14th, 2011

neon news sign

According to Gary Gilles,'s Diabetes Guide and a health writer, educator and counselor, 2010 was an auspicious year in diabetes research and treatment, with many exciting developments.

Gilles has compiled what he considers to be the Top Ten Diabetes Research Stories of 2010. They include the first generation artificial pancreas, an implantable blood glucose sensor, the world's smallest insulin pen needle, a potential diabetes vaccine, and an organ-like insulin-producing cell pouch implant.

To read more about Gilles top picks in his article on, click >HERE<.

Artificial Pancreas Performs Well in British Trials

April 15th, 2011

model of a pancreas
Pancreas model. Photo: Suleyman Habib
There's good news coming out of Britain for type 1 diabetics. Researchers conducting tests with a closed loop system artificial pancreas were able to better stabilize blood sugar in two groups of study participants than with a conventional insulin pump and - most importantly - to keep their blood sugar from dipping overnight.

An artificial pancreas combines an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitoring system, and a high tech that provides sophisticated instructions to the insulin pump and glucose monitor depending on blood sugar readings. For example, the computer algorithm computes insulin doses according to rising or falling blood sugar levels, and sends instructions to the insulin pump to deliver the optimum dose. The goal is to have the system act as much as a normal pancreas as possible.

The researchers tested the artificial pancreas in 24 insulin dependent diabetics in two real-life scenarios - an evening meal eaten at home, and a dinner eaten out, including alcohol. Half of the diners were given the artificial pancreas system, while the other half used conventional insulin pump therapy.

To read more on this story online at WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

Antibodies Associated with Insulin Resistance Raise Hope of a Diabetes Vaccine

April 28th, 2011

Doctors and researchers have known for a while that excess weight, diet and lack of exercise can all be contributing factors in the development of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is known as an immune disease, type 2 diabetes is generally considered a metabolic disorder, and is attributed to poor lifestyle choices. A new study shifts some of the responsibility for the development of their condition away from the patients by shedding light on other possible influences.

For this study, the results of which were published in Nature Medicine, researchers tested blood samples of 32 obese people, and found that the half who had insulin resistance had antibodies that were not present in the half who were obese but not insulin resistant. This suggests that type 2 diabetes may be an immune disorder, and that there is a possibility of developing a vaccine for the condition.

When fat developing in the abdomen runs out of space and becomes constricted the fat cells eventually die, and the immune system sends in cells to clean up the dead fat cells. Among the immune system response cells are T-cells and B-cells, which are responsible for remembering threats to the body and creating antibodies. The antibodies then attack the fat cells, which makes them insulin resistant. This immune response against fat cells is also connected to fatty liver disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The study also tested the effects on mice of an immune-modifying drug called anti-CD20. Mice were fed a diet that was 60% fat, and after six and seven weeks some of the mice received the drug. The mice who were given the drug had normal blood sugar levels, and did not develop insulin resistance, whereas the control mice did become insulin resistant. However, anti-CD20 can have serious side effects and can negatively affect the immune system, so it is likely that it will not be used any time soon as a diabetes medication.

While the findings of this study are promising, more research needs to be done. The mice and human subjects were all male, so it is not known whether the results apply to females. Currently, type 2 diabetes is treated first with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, sometimes combined with oral diabetes medication. Over time, many type 2 diabetics require insulin injections to control their blood sugar.

Pancreatic Cell Breakthrough May End Need for Insulin Therapy

May 6th, 2011

In a potential breakthrough that could lead to a cure for type 1 diabetes, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have found a way to alter the DNA of pancreas cells to turn them into insulin producing beta cells.

Beta cells are a type of cell in areas of the pancreas called islets of Langerhans. These beta cells produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Beta cells react quickly to spikes in blood glucose by releasing insulin into the bloodstream, and producing more. They also produce C-peptide and amylin, which contribute to blood sugar control and prevent nerve disorders associated with diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks and destroys the pancreas' beta cells, leading to a lack of insulin. Type I diabetes is fatal unless treated with insulin injections (insulin is destroyed in the stomach, and can't be taken orally).

The UCLA scientists report they may have discovered an underlying mechanism that could convert other types of cells into insulin producing pancreatic beta cells. It's been assumed that cells were immutable and could not be altered, but recent studies indicate that some cells can be "coaxed" into changing into other cells.

But it's now known that chemical tags called methyl groups that bind to DNA can activate or deactivate the actions and identities of certain genes. "Our work shows that beta cells and related endocrine cells can easily be converted into each other," reports study co-author Dr. Anil Bhushan form the UCLA Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology.

The UCLA findings suggest that a defect in beta cells' DNA methylation keeps a gene that triggers the ability to produce insulin "silent". The researchers are hopeful that knowledge can lead to discovery of a mechanism to produce functioning beta cells.

Converting other pancreatic cells to insulin producing beta cells would also benefit those with the much more common type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, beta cells decline over time. Type 2 diabetics either can't produce enough insulin, or develop insulin resistance, a condition where insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugar.

Almost 26 million American adults and children have diabetes, and that number is rising so rapidly that the International Diabetes Association has called the disease "the epidemic of the 21st century". Although the techniques to manipulate non-beta pancreatic cells into insulin producing beta cells are still emerging, the prospect of an eventual end to the need for diabetes medication brings new hope to all those impacted by the disease.

High Tech Tools for Diabetes Control

May 11th, 2011

insulin pump
It's hard to believe that insulin has only been around as a diabetes treatment since 1922. A pair of Canadians, Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best, discovered how to extract insulin from animal pancreases, and then used the insulin to treat diabetes in humans. Stories are told of how they went to hospitals and, with a single insulin injection, resuscitated diabetes patients who were already in a coma.

Originally, all insulin was extracted from animals. In the 1970's, researchers started using recombinant DNA technology to produce pure analogues of human insulin. In the last century, diabetes medication and management has progressed by leaps and bounds, including the introduction of long acting insulin in 2003.

The first FDA approved insulin pump hit the market in 1983, and dibetes management technology has greatly advanced in the last couple of decades. WebMD has researched four noteworthy high tech tools for insulin control, including continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, a combination of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, and diabetes information management software that allows the monitor and pump to operate much like an artificial pancreas.

To read the entire article on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.

Enzyme Discovery May Lead to New Diabetes Medication

May 13th, 2011

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a mechanism that stimulates glucose production in the liver in response to a drop in blood sugar. Histone deacetylasses (HDACs) are a group of enzymes that respond to what researchers call "fasting signals".

Fasting signals kick in after long periods without food, such as overnight. HDACs are situated in liver cells, usually outside of the nucleus. The Salk researchers discovered that they move rapidly into the cell in response to fasting signals, and turn on the genes that produce glucose.

After a meal, the hormone insulin normally prompts cells to store glucose for future fuel, and turns off the liver's sugar production to avoid blood glucose from getting too high. Many people with type 2 diabetes have insulin resistance, a condition in which the body no longer responds properly to insulin, allowing the liver to continue manufacturing glucose, resulting in high blood sugar.

Currently, most type 2 diabetics are prescribed an oral diabetes medication called metformin (marketed as Glucophage XR) to help control their blood sugar levels. "Metformin is originally derived from a plant found in Western Europe called 'French lilac' or 'Goat's Rue because goats don't like to eat it, explains scientist Reuben Shaw, Ph.D., "They steered clear of the plant because it contains a compound that acts naturally to lower blood glucose in animals that eat it to prevent them from eating it again."

Shaw researched metformin to find out how it helped insulin to control blood sugar. He discovered it binds to AMPK, a metabolic regulating enzyme which blocks glucose production in the liver. A graduate student in his laboratory, Maria Mihhaylova, then delved into targets of AMPKs relevant to diabetes, eventually focusing on a family of HDACs called class II HDACs.

In collaboration with two other labs, Mihhaylova discovered that HDACs only controlled glucose synthesizing enzymes in response to the fasting hormone glucagon. "In response to the glucagon, chemical modifications on class II HDACs are removed, and they can translocate into the [liver cell] nucleus", she explains.

The team went on to perform tests on mice with dramatic results - suppression of HDACs restored blood glucose levels to near normal in four different models of type 2 diabetes. "These exciting results show that drugs that inhibit the activity of class II HDACs may be worthwhile to be pursued as potential diabetes drugs," says Shaw.

The search for a new and improved diabetes medication may get a boost from current cancer research - prescription drug companies have been developing HDAC inhibitors as anti-cancer drugs. Shaw hopes that some of the compounds they have developed could have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insulin resistance and diabetes, whether or not they are effective against cancer.

To view Shaw's explanation of his team's discovery on YouTube, >CLICK HERE<.

What's the Best Exercise to Control Blood Sugar in Diabetics?

May 16th, 2011


Researchers analyzing the results of 24 separate clinical trials involving over 8400 participants have determined the best type of exercise program to control blood sugar in diabetics. It turns out that engaging in moderate exercise for longer periods of time is more effective at stabilizing blood glucose than shorter bursts of intensive physical activity.

As well, diabetes patients given a structured exercise routine by their health care provider do better than those simply told to get more physical activity. "We always tell patients, even those without diabetes, to get more exercise," says Dr. Joel Zonszein, the Director of the clinical diabetes centre at New York's Montefiore Medical Center, "It would be good if we were able to prescribe an exercise program for them to follow."

Current guidelines suggest type 2 diabetics get at least 2 ½ hours of moderate to intense exercise every week, including aerobic activity and some sort of resistance training such as working out with weights. "Exercise improves insulin activity," stresses Zonszein, "it makes insulin work better."

Some diabetics discover regular work outs reduce their need for diabetes medication, so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider if you are beginning or revving up an exercise program. To read more about the study and the researchers' recommendations on HealthDay, >CLICK HERE.<

Gene Discovery Has Great Potential in Diabetes Control

May 17th, 2011

Could the discovery of a "master regulator" gene that controls the activity of other genes linked to diabetes, obesity and heart disease lead to a treatment to address all three conditions at once?

A groundbreaking major study has great therapeutic potential in treating not only diabetes, but also the equally serious and widespread conditions obesity and heart disease. A team of researchers led by the University of Oxford and King's College London in Britain have found a "master regulator" gene in fat tissue that controls the activity of other genes in body fat.

The gene, called the KLF14 gene, had already been linked to both type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels, but the role it played was unknown. The research team examined over 20,000 genes from biopsies of the subcutaneous fat of 800 UK female twin volunteers and, later, an additional 600 Icelandic volunteers. They discovered an unexpected interconnectedness between the KLF14 gene and other genes found in fat that are linked to metabolic traits such as obesity, cholesterol, and glucose and insulin levels.

Excess body fat plays a major role in the development of metabolic disorders (disorders involving an alteration in the normal metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, water and nucleic acids) including diabetes and heart disease. As metabolic conditions are closely related, many patients suffer from a combination of conditions such as obesity and diabetes, or heart disease and diabetes.

In fact, adults with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke than those without diabetes, and about 65% of diabetics die from one or the other. Obesity is believed to be the biggest cause of insulin resistance. Obesity and diabetes are so interconnected that the current concurrent explosion of both has been dubbed the "diabesity epidemic". The prospect of a treatment that would address diabetes, heart disease and obesity together is more than a little heartening.

University of Oxford Professor Mark McCarthy was the study's co-leader. "KLF14 seems to act as a master switch controlling processes that connect changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in muscle and liver that contribute to diabetes and other conditions," McCarthy explains, "We are working hard right now to understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions."

Professor Tim Spector also co-led the study, dubbed the MuTHER Project. "This is the first major study that shows how small changes in one master regulator gene can cause a cascade of other metabolic effects in other genes," says Spector, "This has great therapeutic potential, especially as by studying large detailed populations such as twins, we hope to find more of these regulators."

Dietary Supplement Could Replace Diabetes Medication

May 24th, 2011


Could the common grapefruit hold the key to avoiding or treating both type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol? A pre-meal supplement currently in clinical trials in the US could change the way your body reacts to both fats and sugars.

A nano-dietary supplement which substantially reduces the amount of fat and sugar the body absorbs from a meal has been developed in a collaboration between Boston's Harvard University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The supplement contains naringenin, the flavonoid that gives grapefruit its bitter taste. In studies with rats, a single dose of naringenin taken just before a high fat and high sugar meal increased insulin sensitivity by an impressive 64%, and reduced the generation of bad cholesterol by a substantial 42%.

The researchers had previously established that the bitter molecule had the potential to treat diabetes, arteriosclerosis (hardened fat in the arteries) and hypermetabolism (increased metabolism, accompanied by insulin resistance), but had to contend with the fact that absorption of naringenin in its natural from is very low.

They were able to increase naringenin's absorption rate by 11 times by creating a nano-complex of naringenin within a ring of sugar called cyclodextrin. As an added bonus, the sugar makes the bitter naringenin more palatable.

"The complex is special in that it is taken just before a meal as a preventative measure," explains Yaakov Nahmias from the Hebrew University, "In comparison, existing medications are given only after the chronic development of abnormal lipid [and sugar] levels in the blood."

Naringenin activates a family of small proteins called nuclear receptors, which cause the liver to break down fatty acids. It appears to mimic the action of both lipid lowering drugs such as Tricor (generic fenofibrate), and diabetes medication such as Avandia (generic rosiglitazone), without any undesired side effects. Naringenin not only combats high levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood; it also improves the body's sensitivity to insulin, reducing insulin resistance.

The researchers have applied for patents, and the supplement is undergoing clinical trials in the US. They are hopeful that the complex may be an effective future preventative and treatment for diabetes, arteriosclerosis and hypermetabolism.

Software Allows Cars to Monitor Driver's Blood Sugar Levels

May 26th, 2011

The Ford Motor Company is working with Medtronic Inc, a leading manufacturer of blood glucose monitors, to expand Ford's onboard Sync communication system to provide blood sugar monitoring for diabetic drivers. The prototype software monitors blood sugar, displays readouts on the dashboard, and warns the driver if his or her blood glucose is approaching dangerously high or low levels.

The driver can also request blood sugar updates using voice commands. The system can also be used to monitor the blood sugar levels of the vehicle's passenger, such as a diabetic child.

The blood sugar monitoring software uses a Bluetooth connection on the driver's phone to transmit information to the dashboard from a continuous glucose monitor worn on the body. If the driver's blood glucose levels dip to the point where it could cause symptoms like lightheadedness, disorientation, loss of coordination and blurry vision, a robotic voice alerts the driver.

The driver can then take some glucose tablets or diabetes medication, and will be instructed to recheck their blood sugar in 30 minutes. Ultimately, says Medtronic spokesman Brian Henry, the company would like to develop technology that would enable an insulin pump to automatically adjust and administer the correct insulin dosage in response to a low blood sugar reading from the in-car glucose monitoring system.

Ford's voice-activated Sync communication system was developed in partnership with Microsoft Corporation, and has been available since 2008 on most models. Sync provides services like traffic and direction information, voice activated assistance with music and phone calls, and blind spot detection and warnings.

With diabetes at epidemic proportions and the number of American seniors expected to double in less than 50 years, both Ford and GM see in-car health monitoring as an important feature in future automobiles. Ford is also working on other features such as a car seat with sensors that detect electrical impulses from the driver's heart and can warn of a pending heart attack.

"The car is more than just a car," says Ford's chief technology officer Paul Mascarenas, "People spend almost an entire week a year on the road, and that's expected to increase. The car is a private space for conducting personal business. We see health and wellness as a core area."

Ford says the continuous glucose monitoring system is advancing quickly, and hopes to make the feature available to America's approximately 26 million diabetics in three to five years.

New Recommendations for Diagnosing Diabetes in Children

May 27th, 2011

Unfortunately, the easiest way to measure long-term glucose levels to diagnose diabetes in children - the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test, may not be the most effective method.

An article in the Journal of Pediatrics comparing HbA1c screening and the fasting plasma glucose test (which must be administered after an 8 hour fast) warns that the HbA1c test is less sensitive in children than it is in adults.

"You don't want to rely on just this test to diagnose a child with diabetes," says pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Joyce Lee, "The HbA1c test just doesn't perform as well in children as it does in adults." Lee worries that cases of diabetes in children could be missed, and advices the test be used only in conjunction with other tests to diagnose juvenile diabetes.

The HbA1c test is quite accurate in adults, but it's believed that changing hormone levels could skew the results in boys and girls. Although more difficult to administer, the glucose tolerance test is still the "gold standard" to detect diabetes in children, says Dr. Gerald Bernstein of the Beth Israel Medical Centre's Friedman Diabetes Institute.

To read more about the latest information on diagnosing children with diabetes on WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

Diabetics May Have Super-Sticky Cholesterol

May 30th, 2011

As if having diabetes isn't troubling enough, the British Heart Foundation is now warning that type 2 diabetics are more likely to have a newly discovered super-sticky "ultra bad" form of cholesterol. This extra sticky cholesterol is more likely to adhere to and build up in the arteries, forming dangerous artery-narrowing plaque. These narrowed or blocked arteries are the cause of coronary heart disease and resulting heart attacks and strokes.

The super-sticky cholesterol, called MGmin-LDL, is formed by the bonding of a sugar molecule (such as glucose or fructose) to a lipid molecule (such as low density lipoprotein) in a process called glycation. Glycation changes the shape of LDL molecules, making them smaller and denser and creating more exposed areas that are likely to stick to artery walls.

Low density lipoprotein, or LDL, enables the transfer of lipids (fatty substances) like cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. High levels of LDL cholesterol are a major risk factor for heart disease, as is diabetes. Narrowed arteries not only reduce blood flow, they can rupture, releasing a blood clot. If the clot causes a blockage in the heart, it can cause a heart attack, and if it lands in the brain, it can cause a stroke.

In fact, America's over 25 million diabetics are twice as likely to develop heart or vascular disease as the general population, and at least sixty percent of diabetics die from a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke. There is a direct correlation between the amount of plaque in their arteries and the risk of early death for diabetics.

These new findings may help explain the increased risk of coronary heart disease in diabetics. The discovery of the relationship between blood glucose and the formation of "ultra bad" cholesterol also explains why use of the widely prescribed oral diabetes medication Glucophage (generic metformin) has been linked to a reduced risk of heart attack. The diabetes medicine is believed to block the transformation of LDL to the stickier MGmin-LDL.

It's hoped that the discovery of this new type of more harmful cholesterol will lead to advancements in the prevention and treatment of heart disease in both diabetics and the elderly, who are also more likely to develop MGmin-LDL.

"Understanding exactly how 'ultra-bad' LDL damages arteries is crucial," stresses British Heart Foundation Research Advisor Dr. Shannon Amoils, "As this knowledge could help develop new anti-cholesterol treatments for patients."

"We've known for a long time that people with diabetes are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke," says Amoils, "There is still more work to be done to untangle why this is the case, but this study is an important step in the right direction." The next step for the British researchers is to develop treatments to target this more dangerous type of cholesterol, and to help neutralize its harmful effects on diabetics' arteries.

Is HbA1c Glucose Monitoring About to Become Old News?

June 1st, 2011

The gold standard hemoglobin HbA1c glucose monitoring test may soon lose ground to an alternative test recently developed in Tokyo. The new glycated albumin (GA) assay test measures blood sugar over 17 days, as opposed to over 3 months for HbA1c testing. This enables the GA to give a more accurate picture of diabetes control in patients with rapid changes in blood sugar levels.

HbA1c testing, which averages blood glucose levels over three months, has long been the most widespread and trusted form of blood sugar monitoring in diabetes. While it has proved a valuable tool in both diagnosing and monitoring diabetes, recent studies have questioned its effectiveness in children, and in diabetics with kidney failure.A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics advised physicians that HbA1c results can be misleading in children, possibly because of changing hormone levels. The researchers discovered the 8-hour fasting plasma glucose test provided more accurate results, and recommended the glucose tolerance test remain the "gold standard" to detect diabetes in children.

Another study of diabetics with advanced kidney failure discovered that HbA1c testing did not always give accurate results. "Most organs don't function properly in severe kidney failure," explained lead investigator Dr. Barry Freedman from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, "For example, most dialysis patients have anemia with fewer red blood cells than they should, which has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of the HbA1c reading."

This is because blood sugar reacts with the hemoglobin in red blood cells to give HbA1c values. The results are accurate with red blood cells with a normal life span, but the red blood cells in dialysis patients have a shorter life span, resulting in lower HbA1c values.

"Dialysis patients and their doctors get a false sense of security," warns Freedman," because their lower HbA1c actually relates to shorter red cell survival, yet suggests diabetes control is better than it really is." The researchers determined that the newer glycated albumin assay test proved much more accurate in diabetic patients with impaired kidney function.

The new test's ability to monitor frequent changes in blood sugar levels should also prove beneficial in the treatment of gestational diabetes, unstable plasma glucose levels and conditions that cause changes in or shorten the lifespan of hemoglobin.

Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure, and almost 50 percent of dialysis patients are diabetics. Accurate blood sugar monitoring is essential in the management of diabetes, including determining when to implement insulin therapy and the dosages and effectiveness of diabetes medication such as insulin injections.

The new GA test, developed by the Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, is available in Japan, China and South Korea, but is not yet FDA approved in the United States. Freedman is recommending that doctors of diabetic dialysis patients monitor their blood sugar levels with multiple daily readings until the GA test is available in the US.

For more information on the GA test, visit Asahi Kasei Pharma.

Lipid Profiling Can Predict Diabetes Risk Better than Current Methods

June 2nd, 2011

Studying the genetic make-up of lipids, or fatty molecules, in the blood (lipidomic profiling) can lead to improved and earlier prediction of the risk of developing diabetes, atherosclerosis and heart disease.

A ten-year study of about 1100 Mexican Americans - a group at high risk of diabetes - discovered that a single predictor, a lipid component called dihydroceramide (dhCer), was substantially increased in people with diabetes.

Dihydroceramide is genetic, and appears to be an independent risk factor with no connection to blood sugar and insulin levels. In the future, measurement of dhCer levels may become part of routine screenings for diabetes, allowing health care providers to identify those at risk long before existing screening procedures.

Those identified as being at risk could then make lifestyle changes such as losing weight, becoming more physically active and improving their diet to avoid becoming diabetic.

Currently, the most commonly used predictors are measurements of blood glucose and insulin levels, which do not provide useful information until the patient is close to developing or has already developed insulin resistance or diabetes.

The discovery of the link between dhCer and diabetes could also lead to new and more effective means of diabetes control. To read more about lipid genetics on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

Substance in Frog Skin May Play Role in Diabetes Control

June 7th, 2011

Award-winning research has uncovered two substances in frog's skin with the potential to treat diabetes, cancer, stroke, organ transplants and many other conditions. The substances are proteins, or peptides, that could be used in a controlled and targeted way to regulate the growth of blood vessels.

The proteins are excreted in waxy substances on the frog's outer skin, and can be extracted without harming the frogs, which can then be released. One of the proteins, extracted from the Waxy Monkey Frog, has the potential to kill cancer tumors.

A different protein from the Giant Firebellied Toad switches on a process called angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. This process could be used to repair stubborn wounds like diabetic ulcers; help repair damage to blood vessels caused by high blood sugar, heart attacks and strokes, and aid in organ transplants.

"We are absolutely convinced that the natural world holds the solutions to many of our problems," says Queen's University Belfast Professor Chris Shaw, who led the research, "We just need to pose the right questions to find them."

Scientists and drug companies all over the world have spent billions of dollars over the years trying to develop a drug that can target, control and grow blood vessels. To read more about the ground breaking Queen's University angiogenesis research on, >CLICK HERE.<

Type 1 Diabetics Respond Well to New Type 2 Diabetes Medication

June 8th, 2011

Type 1 diabetics given a recently approved type 2 diabetes medication in addition to their insulin therapy experienced a "dramatic change" in their health. They had more stable blood sugar levels, needed less insulin, and even lost an average ten pounds over six months.

The FDA approved Victoza as a once-daily injection to treat type 2 non insulin dependent diabetes in adults in early 2010. Although it is injected, Victoza is not a type of insulin. Victoza (generic name liraglutide) belongs to a new class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

GLP-1 receptor agonists mimic the action of a natural peptide which helps the pancreas to make more insulin after a meal. They also slow the absorption of sugar in the stomach, act as an appetite suppressant, and lower levels of glucagon, a hormone which counteracts the effect of insulin.

Researchers at the State University of New York conducted a clinical study with 14 type 1 diabetics whose blood sugar was well controlled using an insulin pump. Although their insulin therapy was effective, all the study participants showed unpredictable peaks and dips in their blood sugar levels.

When Victoza was added to their insulin therapy, all 14 saw their blood sugar quickly stabilize. Within a week, their fasting and blood sugar levels fell an average 15 percent. The longer they took Victoza, the less insulin they required. Both their mealtime and all-day insulin dosing lowered about 30 percent. Those that continued in the study for six months experienced even less need for insulin.

Lowering the levels of insulin suppressing glucagon appears to be of much more benefit to type 1 diabetics than had been anticipated. "Over a protracted period of time, as their diabetes continues to be well controlled, there is delightful improvement in patients' well being," says study leader Dr. Paresh Dandona.

Prescription Byetta (generic name exenatide) is a similar GLP-1 receptor agonist also recently approved by the FDA. Exenatide mimics the action of incretin hormones to lower blood sugar. Byetta is injected twice daily. Byetta has not yet been tested in type 1 diabetes, but the researchers believe both type 2 diabetes drugs would have the same effects.

Both liraglutide and exenatide are normally prescribed in combination with diet, exercise, and other diabetes medication. Neither Victoza or Byetta are FDA approved for use in type 1 diabetes, and Dandona advises that they should only be prescribed off-label by an endocrinologist specializing in diabetes treatment. Dandona is pursuing funding for a larger study.

Insulin has Direct Effects On the Brain

June 9th, 2011

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research (MPINR) claim to have proven that insulin has direct effects on the reward centers of the brain. In a recent article in Cell Metabolism outlining their work the MPINR team explained that they set out to better understand the "reward" aspects of food and how insulin influences brain function.

Unlike earlier studies that had focused on insulin's effect on the feeding behavior related hypothalamus, the team focused on neurons in the brain that release dopamine, a brain chemical that plays a role in reward and motivation. They found that insulin causes the dopamine-releasing neurons to fire more frequently.

Mice whose insulin receptors were inactivated to no longer respond to insulin overate and became obese. They also showed an altered response to sugar and cocaine when their food supply was limited, further suggesting that the brain's reward centers require insulin to function normally.

The findings suggest that insulin resistance may help to explain why many obese individuals find it so difficult to resist food and lose weight. "Insulin resistance may drive a vicious cycle," explains MPINR's Jens Bruning, "There is no evidence that this is the beginning of the road to obesity, but it may be an important contributor to obesity and to the difficulty we have in dealing with it.

The next step is to conduct functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in human subjects who have had insulin artificially delivered to the brain to observe its effects on their reward centers.

To read the article in Cell Metabolism, >CLICK HERE.<

Medalists Survive 50 Years without Diabetes Complications

June 10th, 2011

The Joslin Diabetes Center's 50-Year Medal Program honors the accomplishments of those who have survived 50 years or more with diabetes. The Boston-based Center has been following insulin dependent diabetics who have successfully managed their condition over many years.

The Center's 50-year medalists, almost half of which have managed to avoid serious complications such as eye or kidney damage, are being studied in an attempt to determine genetic, physical, psychological and environmental factors that contribute to successful long-term management of the condition.

Years of analyzing data from over 500 long-term diabetes patients have revealed some interesting, and occasionally surprising, information. Perhaps most striking is the fact that almost 70 percent of the medalists still produce some insulin, indicating they may have some defense against beta cell destruction.

Joslin researchers studying the medalists hope to uncover ways to preserve and create insulin-producing beta cells in other insulin dependent diabetics, to develop more effective diabetes medications, or even to find a cure for diabetes.

For some personal survival secrets from two of the medalists who have lived long and healthy lives with diabetes, and some interesting observations on how diabetes control has changed over the years, visit

Poor Sleep in Diabetics Leads to 82% Higher Insulin Resistance

June 13th, 2011

man in bed

There are complex cause and effect relationships between sleep and diabetes. Poor sleep is considered a risk factor for diabetes, while diabetes is considered a contributor to poor sleep.

Sleep disorders such as insomnia, excessive snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are more common in people with type 2 diabetes. As a result, many diabetics don't sleep as well as people without the disease.

Recently, researchers conducting a study titled Cross-Sectional Associations Between Measure Of Sleep And Markers Of Glucose Metabolism Among Persons With And Without Diabetes" monitored the sleep patterns of 40 type 2 diabetics over six nights. They were first interviewed about their normal sleeping patterns, and blood samples were taken to measure their glucose and insulin levels.

Participants wore activity monitors on their wrists to measure their movements through the night. A poor sleep was defined by both the data from the wrist monitors, and the patient's description of how long it took them to fall asleep and how many times they woke up through the night.

The poor sleepers had significantly higher blood glucose levels in the morning - 23 percent higher than those who got a restful sleep. Even more striking, their blood insulin levels were 48 percent higher. The researchers crunched the two numbers to calculate that poor sleepers with diabetes had 82% higher insulin resistance than diabetics who were able to get a good sleep.

"Poor sleep quality in people with diabetes was associated with worse control of their blood sugar levels," said the study's lead author, Kristen Knutson, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine, "people who have a hard time controlling their blood glucose levels have a higher risk of complications. They have a reduced quality of life. And they have a reduced life expectancy."

The logical next step, according to the researchers, is to see if improving the quality of sleep in diabetics can help them lower insulin resistance give them better long term diabetes control and improve their quality of life.

"This suggests that improving sleep quality in diabetics would have a similar beneficial effect as the most commonly used anti- diabetes drugs," said Eve Van Cauter, PhD, professor of medicine and co-author of the study, which was recently published in Diabetes Care.

The researchers also want to solve the "chicken and egg" aspect of chronic poor sleep and chronic insulin resistance, and determine which leads to the other. In the meantime, they're suggesting that diabetics with insomnia add sleep treatment to their diabetes medication.

"Super Mice" Suggest Promising New Approach to Diabetes Medication

June 14th, 2011

lab mice

Scientists at the prestigious Mayo Clinic are excited about a promising prospective treatment for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a result of the body losing sensitivity to insulin and no longer being able to respond to it. Current diabetes treatments concentrate on increasing insulin levels - either by administering insulin injections, or by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin.

A Mayo Clinic Department of Neuroscience research team, led by Malcolm Leissring, Ph.D, took a different approach - blocking the breakdown of insulin after it was released by the pancreas. Conducting studies in mice, the researchers genetically deleted an insulin-degrading enzyme, or IDE, which breaks insulin down into smaller pieces to help control insulin levels in the blood.

The IDE-less rodents were "super mice" in regards to their ability to lower their blood sugar after a meal (a problem for many diabetics). They also had higher insulin levels, weighed less, and had better overall blood sugar control.

"Insulin levels in the blood reflect the balance between how much is secreted and how fast it is broken down," explains Leissring, "Blocking the breakdown of insulin is simply an alternative method for achieving the same goals as existing diabetes therapies."

Unfortunately, IDE inhibitors will need some work before they can be used in humans. The "super mice" eventually overdosed on the trial diabetes drug, becoming insulin resistant and developing classic type 2 diabetes. "It's an example of too much of a good thing becoming bad for you, explains researcher Samer Abdul-Hay, Ph.D, "Deleting all IDE is overkill". He believes that drugs that only partially or temporarily inhibit IDE could be effective long-term diabetes medications.

The study also raises some interesting questions about how diabetes starts. Diabetes is usually believed to cause hyperinsulinemia, or excess insulin levels in the blood. But as the "super mice" with IDE-elevated insulin levels aged, it worked the other way around - the mice lost insulin receptors, became insulin resistant, and developed type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Leissring and his team are currently working on developing more IDE inhibitors, stressing that they in the "early, but exciting days" of their research, and are still unsure if the results will apply to humans. The American Diabetes Association recently awarded them a five-year development grant - a solid indication of its interest in and support for this new avenue of diabetes research.

Oil Refining Expertise Being Applied to Closed Loop Artificial Pancreas

June 15th, 2011

Engineers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are building on automation techniques used in oil refining to create a closed-loop artificial pancreas for type 1 diabetics. The Institute's Professor B. Wayne Bequette, whose sister developed diabetes early in life, has been fine tuning an increasingly advanced diabetes control system for six years.

The pancreas of a type 1 diabetic produces little or no insulin, leaving them dependent on insulin injections. Blood sugar and insulin levels rise and fall normally during the day, responding to factors like meals, the type of food eaten, stress and exercise. Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels frequently, and adjust their insulin dose accordingly.

Bequette's artificial pancreas marries an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring system. The combination quickly and accurately identifies and responds to rapid variations in blood sugar and insulin levels, eliminating the need for frequent testing and guesswork.

To read more about Bequette and his fellow researcher's work on theEngineer >CLICK HERE.<

Caffeine Increases Insulin Resistance

June 20th, 2011

Add your daily cup of java to the list of things that can makeit more difficult to control your diabetes. A growing body of research indicates that caffeine disrupts glucose metabolism and increases insulin resistance, even in people that don't have diabetes.

The findings raise concerns that caffeine's tendency to increase insulin resistance could increase the risk of developing diabetes, or lead to poor control of the disease in those that already have it.

In people with type 2 diabetes, the expected rise in blood sugar after eating carbohydrates is exaggerated if they also drink a caffeinated beverage. This larger than anticipated rise in blood glucose could throw off diabetics' calculations of the required dosage of diabetes medication, including insulin injections.

This is further complicated by the fact that people metabolize coffee at different speeds, and that both slow and fast metabolizers are common in the general population.

Caffeine is not only found in coffee, but also in tea, soft drinks and in energy drinks. Caffeine's impact on glucose metabolism was reported on in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Caffeine Research: The International Multidisciplinary Journal of Caffeine Science.

"The links that have been revealed between diabetes and the consumption of caffeine beverages - especially coffee - are of monumental importance when it is acknowledged that more than 80 percent of the world's population consumes caffeine daily," says the new journal's editor in chief, Jack E. James.

Nicotine Raises Blood Sugar

June 22nd, 2011

The Department of Chemistry at California State Polytechnic University has some important news about smoking and blood sugar levels, especially for diabetics:

  • Nicotine is now known to raise blood sugar levels.
  • The more you smoke, the higher your blood sugar rises.
  • In laboratory testing, two days of nicotine dosing (the equivalent of one or two packs a day) increased HbA1c levels (average blood sugar readings over a period of time) in blood samples by up to 34.5 percent.
  • An increase in HbA1c levels of just 1 percent equals a 40 percent increase in the risk of diabetes complications.
  • Nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches have the same effect on blood sugar as smoking.

Increases in blood sugar and poor diabetes control have already been clearly linked to diabetes complications such as heart attack and stroke, eye and kidney disease and nerve damage, and it was known that diabetics who smoke have higher levels of complications than diabetics who don't smoke.

What wasn't clear was which of the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes were responsible. It's now believed that nicotine may impact glucose metabolism by interfering with the way glucose attaches to proteins, possibly changing their structure and function.

The American Cancer Society has developed a useful guide to help both diabetics and non-diabetics quit smoking. Download the PDF >HERE<.

Dramatic Increase in Life Expectancy for Type 1 Diabetics

June 27th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-06-25) -- The life expectancy of people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980 dramatically increased, compared to people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1964, according to a new study. ... > read full article

Inexpensive TB Vaccine could be a Revolutionary Diabetes Drug

June 28th, 2011

An inexpensive vaccine that's been used for over 90 years to combat tuberculosis may have the ability to reverse type 1 diabetes. Although the early results were met with skepticism, seven studies in mice over the last ten years have established that the generic drug BCG (bacillus Calmette-Guerin) can prevent immune system T cells from destroying insulin-producing cells, allowing the pancreas to regenerate and once again produce insulin.

A research team from the Massachusetts General Hospital Immunobiology Laboratory led by Dr. Denise Faustman, PhD, successfully reproduced the results in a small group of human subjects, using very small doses of the vaccine. Those diabetics receiving the vaccine, all of whom had been Type 1 for an average 15 years, showed both a decrease in pancreas cell-destroying T cells, and an increase in the insulin precursor C-peptide - an indicator of insulin production.

The results were temporary, and it is likely that the vaccination would have to be repeated on a regular basis. The team believed using higher doses would have led to a more positive effect, but trial dosages were limited by the FDA. They are now negotiating with the FDA to use higher concentrations in a larger trial.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the body attacks its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The body needs insulin to fuel itself and regulate blood sugar, so type 1 diabetics must take daily insulin injections to manage their blood sugar levels.

BCG works by increasing the levels of an immune system protein called tumor necrosis factor, or TNF. High levels of TNF block other parts of the immune system from attacking the body, especially the pancreas. This is a major shift in direction in diabetes treatment, as it was not previously believed possible to restore pancreas function in insulin dependent diabetics.

Doctors and researchers are surprised and excited at the unanticipated prospect of controlling the immune system to restore the body' ability to produce normal insulin levels. "If this is reproducible and correct, it could be a phenomenal finding," enthuses Dr. Robert Henry of the University of California, San Diego.

The research was largely funded by the Iacocca Foundation, founded in 1984 by auto manufacturer magnate Lee Iacocca and his daughters after his wife died from diabetes complications at age 57. The Foundation has committed to continued financial assistance for phase II clinical testing of the potentially revolutionary diabetes medication.

Diabetes Discoveries Could Lead to Better Blood Glucose Control

June 30th, 2011

New discoveries in diabetes suggest novel ways to treat, delay the disease

ScienceDaily (2011-06-22) -- A new signal pathway that renders the insulin-releasing beta cell more sensitive to high levels of blood glucose has been discovered by researchers in Sweden. A second new study reveals a possible way to delay the disease by inhibiting a lipoprotein.

A new joint study published in Nature Medicine and conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery and their American colleagues provides new insights into how beta cells react to raised concentrations of blood sugar, which occur, for example, after a meal.

... > read full article

Thirty Seven Strawberries a Day Keep the Doctor Away

July 5th, 2011

A flavonoid called fisetin, found in abundance in strawberries, has been found to lessen complications of diabetes in mice. Fisetin is a neuroprotective flavonoid that can target multiple organs, suggesting that a single natural remedy could be developed to address numerous diabetes complications.

But obtaining a protective patent to bring a natural product like fisetin to market is difficult, meaning further research is stalled until researchers can find someone willing to support a clinical trial. Read more about the benefits of strawberries and the recent research on fisetin and diabetic complications on Diabetic Live.

Researchers Invent New Drug Delivery Device to Treat Diabetes-Related Vision Loss

July 6th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-06-29) -- Engineers and scientists have developed a device that can be implanted behind the eye for controlled and on-demand release of drugs to treat retinal damage caused by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss among patients with diabetes. The disease is caused by the unwanted growth of capillary cells in the retina, which in its advanced stages can result in blindness.

The novel drug delivery mechanism is detailed in the current issue of Lab on a Chip, a multidisciplinary journal on innovative microfluidic and nanofluidic technologies.

Read the full article...

More Progress Made Towards the Development of an Artificial Pancreas

July 7th, 2011

Researchers are continuing to make progress in the development of an artificial pancreas for insulin dependent type 1 diabetics. An artificial pancreas is an automated, closed-loop system consisting of a continuous glucose monitor, a glucose meter to calibrate the monitor, and an insulin pump.

With the help of a sophisticated computer system, an artificial pancreas produces insulin and controls blood sugar in a diabetic much as a normal pancreas does in a person without diabetes. The sophisticated system senses when the body needs insulin, calculates the dose needed, and delivers automatically, eliminating the need for insulin injections.

To read more about several recent advances towards the development of an artificial pancreas on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.

Diabetes Drug Metformin Safer for the Heart

July 12th, 2011

The type 2 diabetes drug metformin is safer for the heart than other older diabetes medication, according to a two-year study. The findings are important because older patients with diabetes are at particular risk for cardiovascular disease, and because many of them are prescribed a class of diabetes medications called sulfonylureas that may raise this risk.

The controversial diabetes drug Avandia, which has been linked to heart problems, is a sulfonylureas diabetes drug. Sulfonylureas have also been linked to episodes of low blood sugar, and to weight gain.

Sulfonylureas drugs and metformin (also known by the brand name Glucophage) lower blood sugar in different ways. Metformin works by suppressing sugar production in the liver, while sulfonylureas work by increasing insulin production. To read more about the study findings on WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

American Diabetes Association Releases Diabetes 24/7

July 14th, 2011

The American Diabetes Association has released new software to help diabetics enhance their diabetes control. The online tool, called Diabetes 24/7, is a personal health record which allows diabetics to store and track relevant medical information such as glucose readings, diabetes medications and test results. Healthcare providers such as doctors, pharmacies, laboratories and clinics can also access the information, with the patient's permission.

Diabetes 24/7 is designed to integrate with the free Microsoft program Health Vault, where the information is securely stored. Health Vault provides users with an easily accessible place to import, organize and share important healthcare records and information, all under the user's control. The site also offers a variety of online health management tools.

To learn more about Diabetes 24/7 on the American Diabetes Association website, >CLICK HERE<.

Stem Cell "Memory" Can Boost Insulin Levels

July 15th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-07-14) -- Scientist have now derived embryonic-like stem cells from adult stem cells that appear to retain their effectiveness in producing insulin in the human body. This research may promise a new avenue of treatment that avoids costly and dangerous pancreas transplants.

Stem cells from early embryos can be coaxed into becoming a diverse array of specialized cells to revive and repair different areas of the body. Therapies based on these stem cells have long been contemplated for the treatment of diabetes, but have been held back by medical and ethical drawbacks.

Read full article...

Dentists Can Identify People with Undiagnosed Diabetes

July 20th, 2011


ScienceDaily (2011-07-18) -- Dental visits represent a chance to intervene in the diabetes epidemic by identifying individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes who are unaware of their condition, according to a new study.

In a study, Identification of Unrecognized Diabetes and Pre-diabetes in a Dental Setting, published in the July 2011 issue of the Journal of Dental Research, researchers at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine found that dental visits represented a chance to intervene in the diabetes epidemic by identifying individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes who are unaware of their condition.

Read full article ...

Paxil and Pravachol Taken Together Have Unexpected Effect on Blood Sugar

July 25th, 2011

Analysis of an FDA data base has revealed that commonly prescribed depression and high cholesterol drugs may raise blood sugar levels if taken together. This previously undiscovered effect on blood glucose has important implications for diabetics and those at risk of developing diabetes.

The data mining revealed an unexpected spike in blood sugar in patients talking both the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) and the cholesterol drug Pravachol (pravastatin). An estimated up to one million Americans are taking the two drugs, many of them diabetics.

"If a physician has a patient on these [two] medications and their diabetes becomes harder to control, the physician may want to consider changing the medications," said the study's principal investigator, Stanford University professor Dr. Russ Altman.

To read more about the implications of this possibly harmful interaction on glucose metabolism and diabetes control on InformationWeek, >CLICK HERE.<

FDA Panel Recommends Against Approval of new Diabetes Medication

July 27th, 2011

diabetes medication

A panel of Food & Drug Administration advisors has voted 9 to 6 against the approval of the new oral diabetes drug, dapaglifozin. Dapaglifozin was developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb, and was to be marketed by AstraZeneca. The panel expressed concerns about both the medication's safety and its effectiveness, especially in the elderly.

Dapaglifozin proved as effective as current oral diabetes medications in otherwise healthy diabetics, but was not as effective in those with impaired kidney function. The panel was primarily concerned about a potential risk of breast and bladder cancers. In a two-year study, there were nine cases of bladder cancer and nine cases of breast cancer in the just under 5478 patients taking the new diabetes medication, compared to only one case of bladder cancer and one case of breast cancer in the 3156 patients in the control group.

There were also indications of possible kidney damage, and increased risks of genital and urinary tract infections. The panel also complained of insufficient data on which patient population the diabetes drug was best suited to, and on potential interactions with other medications.

Dapaglifozin belongs to a class of medications called SGLT2 inhibitors. SGLT2 inhibitors work by inhibiting the return of glucose filtered by the kidneys to the blood stream, redirecting it through the urinary tract to be excreted in the urine. It's believed the resulting high sugar levels in the urine is the cause of the increase in genital and urinary tract infections.

One advantage of SGLT2 inhibitors is that they work independently of insulin injections, allowing for more freedom in combining them with other diabetes medications. People taking dapaglifozin in clinical trials also lost an average of five pounds, and experienced a slight drop in blood pressure.

The panel recommendation will not only likely result in the FDA rejecting the diabetes medication, but it will also effect the approval of similar SGLT2 inhibitors being developed by a number of other major pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly.

The panel is calling for more clinical studies of the proposed diabetes drug. The FDA will make a final decision by the end of October, 2011, but given the panel's request for more trials, the approval of dapaglifozin is expected to be about two years away.

Intensive Glucose Lowering Treatment Can be Risky

July 28th, 2011

glucose monitor

According to a HealthDay News article, intensive glucose-lowering treatment for people with type 2 diabetes doesn't reduce the risk of cardiovascular-related death, and doctors need to be cautious about prescribing this type of treatment.

Patients with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Intensive glucose-lowering treatment is widely used for these patients even though previous research hasn't shown any clear benefits, researchers pointed out in a report published in a recent online edition of the British Medical Journal.

Catherine Cornu, a research physician at the Clinical Investigation Centre, Louis Pradel Hospital in Bron, France, and colleagues reviewed 13 studies that included a total of 34,533 diabetes patients -- 18,315 who underwent intensive glucose-lowering treatment and 16,218 who received standard treatment.

To read the full article on HealthDay News, >CLICK HERE.<

Diabetic Kidney Disease Reversed by Ketogenic Diet

July 29th, 2011

Researchers have for the first time determined that the ketogenic diet, a specialized high-fat, low carbohydrate diet, may reverse impaired kidney function in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. They also identified a previously unreported panel of genes associated with diabetes-related kidney failure, whose expression was reversed by the diet.

The study is the first to show that a dietary intervention alone is enough to reverse this serious complication of diabetes, a finding with significant implications for the tens of thousands of Americans diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease. To read more about this promising new diabetes dietonline at Science Daily, >CLICK HERE<

Researcher Links Diabetic Complication to Nerve Damage in Bone Marrow

August 5th, 2011

?ScienceDaily (2010-01-08) -- Scientists have discovered a link between diabetes and bone marrow nerve damage that may help treat one of the most common and potentially blindness-causing diabetes complications - diabetic retinopathy.

The key to better treating retinopathy - damage to blood vessels in the retina that affects up to 80 percent of diabetic patients - lies not in the retina but in damage to the nerves found in bone marrow that leads to the abnormal release of stem cells, said Julia Busik, an associate professor in MSU's Department of Physiology.

> read full article

Arthritis Drug a Future Diabetes Medication?

August 9th, 2011

A collaborative group of researchers including the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has been testing the medication abatacept (CTLA4 immunoglobin fusion protein) as a possible treatment for type 1 diabetes. Abatacept, better known by its brand name Orencia, is FDA approved to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which T-cells in the body's immune system mistakenly attack the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. With the pancreas producing little or no insulin, type 1 diabetics must rely on insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels. Those type 1 diabetes who continue to produce some insulin have an easier time keeping their blood sugar in the normal range, and have less risk of diabetes complications.

Abatacept blocks the activation of the immune system's aggressive and destructive T-cells. The researchers hoped the medication would protect the remaining beta cells in the pancreas from being destroyed, allowing them to continue to make at least a little of their own insulin.

Researchers recruited 112 newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics aged 6 to 45, all of whom still had some functioning beta cells. Two thirds of the participants were given abatacept intravenously over two years, and one third was given a placebo. The two-year study ended recently, although participants will be followed up for another two years. Initial results are encouraging, with the participants who received the abatacept showing 59% more insulin production than the control group.

"I have spent my career on the quest to find a treatment and cure for type 1 diabetes, and thus it was very gratifying when we unblinded the clinical results and discovered that abatacept had benefit," said principle investigator Dr. Tihamer Orban. "From my experience though," he cautioned, "abatacept is not likely to be the complete answer, and type 1 diabetes patients will likely benefit from cocktail combinations with other drugs. This synergistic approach has a great future."

Orban's is the CEO of the clinical stage biotechnology company, Orban Biotech. Orban Biotech has launched a pre-clinical study evaluating the combination of abatacept with the company's antigen-based therapy insulin B chain vaccine. The vaccine, which is entering into a Phase II trial, is designed to arrest the autoimmune response and re-establish tolerance towards insulin, preserving the body's own insulin production.

This study is one of several which show promise of novel ways to improve diabetes control, and perhaps free insulin dependent diabetics from the need for frequent insulin injections and other diabetes medication.

Swamp Gas Plays a Role in Diabetes Control

August 9th, 2011

The last decade has been an exciting time in diabetes research, with scientists approaching diabetes control from many different angles. Enter hydrogen sulfide, the foul smelling gas better known as "swamp gas". It turns out the sewer-scented compound, a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies, may play an important role in protecting blood vessels from diabetic complications.

In a finding that they say "may open the door for new therapies", researchers discovered that providing cells with high levels of hydrogen sulfide protected them against the toxic effects of sugar.

To read the full story on, a news publication focused on the latest research in diabetes drugs, diets, and medical advances, >CLICK HERE.<

New Protein May Help Treat Diabetes and Obesity

August 10th, 2011

ScienceDaily (2011-08-09) -- A newly-identified protein may hold the key to keeping appetite and blood sugar in check, according to a new study. Researchers found that rats administered with nesfatin-1 ate less, used more stored fat and became more active. In addition, the protein stimulated insulin secretion from the pancreatic beta cells of both rats and mice.

"[The rats] actually ate more frequently but in lesser amounts," says Unniappan, a member of York's neuroscience graduate diploma program, and a recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award. "In addition, they were more active and we found that their fatty acid oxidization was increased. In other words, the energy reserve being preferably used during nesfatin-1 treatment was fat. This suggests more fat loss, which could eventually result in body weight loss," he says. read full article...

Diabetics May Be Wasting Billions on Unnecessary Medication

August 11th, 2011

Type 2 diabetes patients may be wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary medication. Three doctors who recently evaluated the effectiveness of commonly prescribed fibrates in diabetes patients with high cholesterol have said that the drugs have not been proven effective. The doctors, who conducted the research for the FDA, reported their findings in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Diabetics are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, and fibrates are commonly prescribed along with statins and diabetes medication to lower the risk of heart attacks. The statins and fibrates were thought to work in combination to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL cholesterol levels.

But, although fibrates such as Tricor (fenofibrate), Lopid (gemfibrozil) and Trilipix (fenofibric acid) are routinely prescribed to diabetics, there have been few studies assessing their effectiveness. "Thousands and thousands of Americans take fibrates every day," said one of the commentary's authors, Dr Sanjay Kaul from the Cedars-Sanai Heart Institute, "But so far there are no long-term studies showing that fibrates lower cardiovascular risk or improve survival among diabetes patients who are also on statins."

The commentary authors are calling for more studies, and recommending doctors only prescribe fibrates along with statins to diabetics at high risk of heart attack, and only after they have achieved healthy LDL levels.

While no diabetic should adjust their diabetes medication without consulting their physician, many type 2 diabetics may be able to lower the cost of their diabetes medicine without affecting their diabetes control based on this new recommendation.

Mealtime Insulin Injections May be Replaced by an Insulin Inhaler

August 12th, 2011

There's good news for insulin dependent diabetics who rely on fast-acting mealtime insulin injections to keep their blood sugar under control. MannKind Corporation has the go-ahead to continue clinical testing of its investigational inhaled insulin, AFREZZA. The drug maker and the FDA met to confirm the protocols for two new studies, one in type 1 diabetics, and one in type 2 diabetics.

AFREZZA is an ultra-rapid acting inhaled insulin which uses patented technology to deliver powdered insulin from a thumb-sized device into the lungs. The lungs are an effective option for delivering diabetes medication, largely because of their huge surface area (about the size of a tennis court).MannKind focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutic products for patients with diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Now in late stage clinical investigation, AFREEZA is its lead product candidate. Shares of the company jumped 20% at the news that the design of the follow-up clinical trials had been confirmed.

MannKind has been seeking approval for its new generation diabetes medication since March of 2009, but was asked twice to run additional clinical trials in order to provide the FDA with more information. One of the approval delays was due to the drug maker updating the design of its insulin inhaler after applying for approval of the earlier design. The FDA was concerned that there was not enough data to support a switch to the new generation device, and asked that both models be tested together.

Clinical trials of the initial design of the insulin inhaler were promising. Participants reported being pleased with the innovative insulin delivery device, and experienced less hypoglycemia and weight gain than did controls using a standard combination of long-acting insulin glargine and twice a day 70 30 insulin injections.

Insulin can't be taken orally, as digestive juices break it down before it can be used by the body. Currently, the only means of delivering insulin are subcutaneous insulin injections or intravenously. Because AFREEZA is a short-acting mealtime insulin, type 1 diabetics will need to combine it with long-acting insulin injections for complete diabetes control.

Dr. Larry Deeb, a pediatric endocrinologist from the University of Florida College of Medicine, says that failure to comply with regular insulin dosing is one of the major issues in diabetes, often because of the discomfort and inconvenience of insulin injections. Deeb says that finding an alternative insulin delivery method is crucial, especially for children and the needle-phobic.

Should it be approved, AFREEZA would be the second inhaled insulin to hit the market. Pfizer received approval to market a similar product, Exubera, several years ago, but, surprisingly, the product never caught on with diabetics, and was withdrawn from the market a year later.

AFREZZA is easier to use, faster acting and boasts better bioavailability than Exubera, enabling diabetics to achieve more satisfactory insulin levels using smaller amounts. Despite Exubera's unexpected failure, AFREEZA is expected to be a blockbuster diabetes drug when it becomes available.

Eating Red and Processed Meats Increases Risk of Diabetes

August 15th, 2011

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the more red meat people eat, especially processed meat, the higher their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Processed meats include the American staples bacon, sausage, hot dogs and most packaged sandwich meats. The study did not establish why red and processed meats increased the risk of developing diabetes. One theory is that the high amount of nitrates used as preservatives in processed meats may increase insulin resistance.

Others theorize that the large amount of iron in red meat leads to high iron stores in the body, which have been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. A third theory is that high meat consumption may contribute to obesity - a major risk factor for diabetes. The answer may lie in a combination of these factors.

To read more about the issue on WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

Security Flaws in Insulin Pump Technology

August 19th, 2011

A security researcher who is diabetic has identified flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely control insulin pumps and alter the readouts of blood-sugar monitors. As a result, diabetics could get too much or too little insulin, a hormone they need for proper metabolism.

Jay Radcliffe, an insulin dependent diabetic who experimented on his own equipment, shared his findings with The Associated Press before releasing them Thursday at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.

The full article is published on the News Tribune.

Diabetes Drug Metformin Combined with Exercise Has Surprise Effect on Glucose Control

August 22nd, 2011

It's common enough for researchers to look at the impacts of prescribed drugs on the body. And if you're a diabetes researcher who believes that exercise has great benefits for those with type 2 diabetes, you're hoping your research will show that. But when Normand Boulé looked at the dual impacts of exercise and metformin - two of the most commonly-prescribed modalities for glucose control -the hoped-for double whammy wasn't the result.

Researchers looking at the effects of the oral diabetes medication metformin and exercise in Type 2 diabetes patients found that a combination of these modalities didn't lower glucose control as much as hoped. Surprisingly, study participants showed better glucose control when sedentary. Researchers think that because prescription metformin and exercise both act to lower glucose levels, the combination may have triggered a counter regulatory response by the body to prevent glucose levels dipping too much.

Read the full article on ScienceDaily-

New Treatment Approach for Diabetic Macular Edema

August 23rd, 2011

SOUTHAMPTON, England, August 23, 2011 /PRNewswire

KalVista Pharmaceuticals ("KalVista"), a new ophthalmology company with a focus on diabetic macular edema (DME), has raised £8 million in a series A round from leading life sciences investors Novo A/S and SV Life Sciences. The company is developing novel, small molecule plasma kallikrein inhibitors, which represent a new approach to the treatment of DME, a leading cause of adult visual loss in developed countries and a major unmet medical need. KalVista's advanced pre-clinical product pipeline is targeting both intravitreal injection and oral administration routes. KalVista acquired these inhibitors plus all relevant intellectual property from Vantia Therapeutics.

KalVista's scientific founders include world-leading experts in ophthalmology, diabetes and diabetes-related complications, Dr Lloyd Paul Aiello and Dr Edward P. Feener. Dr Aiello is Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Joslin's Beetham Eye Institute and Inaugural Chair of the National Eye Institute Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network.

Dr Feener is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Investigator in Vascular Cell Biology at the Joslin Diabetes Center, where his team led the discovery of plasma kallikrein in the vitreous fluid from people with DME and has shown that inhibition of plasma kallikrein decreases pathological retinal vascular permeability in pre-clinical studies. Dr Aiello has guided the clinical development programs for a wide range of recent ophthalmology drugs, and has been a lead investigator in the trials determining the benefit of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) inhibitors for the treatment of DME.

Plasma kallikrein is a circulating serine protease that represents an attractive drug target as it is believed to be central to the pathogenesis of DME within the diseased retina, but is not essential for normal function. The detrimental effects of plasma kallikrein on the retina occur independently of VEGF, which has been an area of intense recent interest as a target for treating DME.

However, while intravitreal VEGF inhibitors have shown clear benefit in clinical trials through reducing macular edema and increasing visual acuity, a large proportion of DME patients do not respond fully to VEGF treatment. KalVista's approach targeting plasma kallikrein inhibition therefore has the potential to add to the treatment options for sufferers of DME including those that are non-responsive to VEGF inhibitors.

KalVista is supporting the therapeutic expertise with a management team with proven experience in bringing small molecules from discovery through the clinic to commercialisation. This team is led by Andrew Crockett as CEO and includes the former discovery group from Vantia Therapeutics. This group developed the extensive library of proprietary plasma kallikrein inhibitors, including the lead compounds that now form the basis of KalVista's discovery platform.

The KalVista board of directors will include Graham Boulnois of SV Life Sciences as Chairman, Martin Edwards of Novo A/S as Non-executive Director and Andrew Crockett as CEO.

Dr Lloyd Paul Aiello, Director of Joslin's Beetham Eye Institute and Co-founder of KalVista, commented on today's announcement: "Diabetic macular edema remains one of the major challenges in ophthalmology, and is a leading cause of visual loss in the developed world. While new advances such as VEGF inhibitors are a breakthrough in treatment, current evidence demonstrates that a substantial number of patients with DME do not respond fully. I believe KalVista's approach, targeting a novel non-VEGF pathway, could represent a further important step in treating this condition."

Graham Boulnois of SV Life Sciences and Chairman of KalVista's board of directors, said: "The exciting discoveries regarding plasma kallikrein inhibition and its potential as a new approach to treating DME have created a significant opportunity. We believe that in KalVista we have put in place all the necessary scientific, clinical and drug discovery and development expertise, and sufficient funding, to capitalize on this opportunity and create a highly differentiated and valuable company."

Andrew Crockett, KalVista's CEO, said: "I am delighted that KalVista has garnered substantial financial support from leading life sciences investors Novo A/S and SV Life Sciences to fund this exciting new business. We have an ambitious target to become a leading company focused on the development of novel treatments for DME and believe we have the team, the expertise, the assets and the approach to achieve this goal."

KalVista is a new ophthalmology company with a focus on diabetic macular edema (DME). KalVista is developing novel plasma kallikrein inhibitors, which represents a new approach to the treatment of DME, a leading cause of adult visual loss in developed countries. KalVista has an advanced pre-clinical product pipeline and is targeting both intravitreal injection and oral administration. Although VEGF inhibitors clearly can benefit DME, a significant number of patients do not respond fully to these agents and have limited treatment options. Plasma kallikrein inhibitors target a distinct molecular pathway and as such have the potential to offer those patients an effective treatment option.

KalVista's founders include world-leading experts in diabetic retinopathy, Dr Lloyd Paul Aiello, Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Joslin's Beetham Eye Institute, and Dr Edward Feener, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Center. In addition to this therapeutic expertise, KalVista has a management team with proven experience in bringing small molecules through the clinic to commercialisation and as a result has attracted significant financial backing from leading life science investors, SV Life Sciences and Novo Ventures.

Home Urine Test Measures Insulin Production in Diabetics

August 31st, 2011

A simple home urine test has been developed which can measure if patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are producing their own insulin. The urine test replaces multiple blood tests in hospital and can be sent by mail, as it is stable for up to three days at room temperature. Avoiding blood tests will be a particular advantage for children with diabetes.

The urine test measures if patients are still making their own insulin even if they take insulin injections. Researchers have shown that the test can be used to differentiate Type 1 diabetes from Type 2 diabetes and from rare genetic forms of diabetes.

One woman with a genetic form of diabetes whose urine test revealed that she was still making her own insulin was able to stop taking insulin injections after 14 years of insulin treatment. To read more about this promising home urine test on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

Does Using Long Acting Insulin Increase Cancer Risk?

September 6th, 2011

long acting insulin

According to the FDA, five recent studies of a possible link between insulin glargine (marketed as Lantus long acting insulin) and the growth of cancerous cells have failed to shed more light on the subject. Calling the studies "inconclusive", the FDA said it was continuing to work with the long acting insulin manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventus, to determine whether there is an increased risk of cancer for users of insulin glargine.

The concerns arose because Lantus' ability to act as a long acting insulin arises from its prolonged interaction with the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR). IGF-IR overactivity has been linked to many types of cancer. That begs the question - could long acting insulin glargine be associated with cancer because of its continual interfacing with IGF-IR?

While the debate about the possible cancer risk associated with long acting insulin continues, the American Diabetes Association, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and two similar European governing bodies are reassuring insulin dependent diabetics that there is no need to change their insulin glargine treatment.

To read more about the controversial long-acting Lantus insulin clinical studies on, >CLICK HERE.<

Mysterious Fetal Tissue Helps Grow Insulin Producing Beta Cells

September 7th, 2011

A somewhat mysterious soft tissue found in the fetus during early development in the womb plays a pivotal role in the formation of mature beta cells, the sole source of the body's insulin. This discovery, made by scientists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Texas A&M University, may lead to new ways of addressing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

As reported in the journal PLoS Biology, during the late stages of development in mice, this fetal tissue -- called the mesenchyme -- secretes chemicals. Those chemicals enable insulin-producing beta cells to mature and expand. Remove this mesenchyme tissue, the researchers found, and the mice do not grow their full complement of beta cells.

This work provides researchers with an immediate tool for research and diabetes drug discovery. By identifying the chemicals that this tissue secretes, scientists may be able to create new beta cells in the body or in the test tube - something currently beyond the reach of medical science that could potentially eliminate the need for insulin injections.

To read the full article on ScienceDaily, >CLICK HERE.<

Newly Identified Protein May Play Role in Diabetes

September 9th, 2011

A study out of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has identified a protein that may play an important role in diabetes. The protein, CDP138, helps muscle and fat cells properly insert glucose transporters in their outer membranes. This new understanding of glucose metabolism may shed light on the impaired insulin action and glucose metabolism behind diabetes.

The results have been published in Cell Metabolism.

Successful Pilot Study for Implanted Continuous Glucose Monitor

September 13th, 2011

Sensors for Medicine and Science Inc (SMSI) is developing a new approach to glucose monitoring that promises to be a long-awaited improvement over present methods, which typically require several finger prick blood tests a day. This inconvenient and uncomfortable method of collecting blood samples results in many diabetics not testing their blood sugar as often as they should.

The new glucose monitoring method involves a small sensor that is implanted under the skin. The sensor automatically monitors glucose levels every few minutes, and transmits the information wirelessly to a small wrist-watch-like external reader. The sensor will also warn the wearer of an impending episode of low or high blood sugar.

The sensor would be of obvious benefit to insulin dependent diabetics whose diabetes is not well controlled or whose blood sugar levels swing unpredictably. It would also be ideal for children with diabetes.

Sensors for Medicine and Science will be presenting the results of a successful pilot study of the glucose monitor at the next meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. "Based on the promising results obtained," says CEO Tim Goodnow, PhD, "We plan to initiate more clinical trials in the very near future."

The company also hopes to collaborate on artificial pancreas research, with many questions to be answered.

New Disposable Insulin Delivery Device About to Hit the Market

September 14th, 2011

Valeritas, an American medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative drug delivery solutions, is poised to begin marketing a new disposable insulin delivery device called the V-Go Disposable Insulin Delivery Device.

The V-Go is designed to provide an alternative to multiple daily insulin injections for adult type 2 diabetics using basal-bolus insulin therapy. The V-Go delivers a continuous preset rate of basal insulin (20, 30 or 40 units of insulin per 24 hours) and allows for on demand bolus dosing at mealtimes (in two unit increments up to 36 units).

Users fill the V-Go with their desired insulin dose using an included disposable filling accessory, the V-Go EZ Fill. The small, lightweight (about 1 ounce when full) device delivers insulin subcutaneously for 24 hours, after which it is replaced with a new one. The discreet device is worn under a patient's clothing, and should not be exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures, although it can be submerged in up to three feet of water.

The non-electronic V-Go was tested using both Humalog insulin lispro and Novolog (insulin aspart), and achieved FDA approval at the end of 2010. The company has been pursuing financing to market it ever since, and has just announced that it has raised $150 million to bring the V-Go Disposable Insulin Delivery Device to market.

"Millions of adult patients suffer from type 2 diabetes and require insulin," says Valeritas CEO Kristine Peterson, "We believe the V-Go will be an important treatment option to assist in the management of their diabetes." To visit the V-Go site and to sign up for email updates on the availability of the innovative insulin delivery device, >Click Here.<

International Diabetes Federation Releases Startling Statistics

September 15th, 2011

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has just released some startling new figures on the escalating diabetes epidemic. Global studies reveal that a staggering 366 million people across the world are dealing with diabetes. The disease is responsible for 4.6 million deaths a year and related health cares costs have reached $465 billion in US dollars.

"IDF's latest Atlas data are proof indeed that diabetes is a massive challenge the world can no longer afford to ignore", stressed the president of the IDF, Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, "In 2011, one person is dying from diabetes every seven seconds. The clock is ticking for the world's leaders - we expect action from their High-Level Meeting next week at the United Nations that will halt diabetes' relentlessly upwards trajectory."

The IDF's message to world leaders is that investing in research now will result in savings in the future, reducing the enormous and still growing burden of non-communicable diseases on their health systems. This research should include developing and evaluating approaches for building local health care capacity, as well as integrating diabetes care and services with primary health care services.

The IDF announced the shocking diabetes statistics at the Lisbon meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes,a week ahead of the UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases. The hope is that world leaders will finally face up to the challenge posed by diabetes, as well as cancer, heart andchronic respiratorydiseases.

As this will be only the second UN Summit in history to deal with a health-related issue, the global diabetes community is expecting international political leaders to commit to concrete actions and measurable targets to tackle diabetes mellitus and other non-communicable diseases, as they did at the ground-breaking High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2001, said the IDF statement.

Insulin Nasal Spray Tested as an Alzheimer's Treatment

September 16th, 2011

insulin nasal spray

Ateam of Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) researchers were intrigued by studies that suggested that low levels of insulin in the brain could contribute to Alzheimer's disease. The researchers, led by Dr. Suzanne Craft, decided to test the benefits of restoring normal insulin levels in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Insulin is an important hormone which plays a major role in turning blood sugar into energy for cells. A lack of insulin, or an inability to properly use it, results in diabetes. Diabetes is a known risk factor for Alzheimer's, although the connection is not yet clear.

Alzheimer's is a disease in which cognitive functioning declines over time, causing progressive memory loss, loss of motor and language skills, impaired reasoning, emotional instability, and eventually full-blown dementia. The disease is associated with abnormal protein deposits in the brain called plaques.

The VA team used an insulin nasal spray that could deliver insulin rapidly and directly to the brain without increasing insulin levels elsewhere in the body. They recruited 104 adults with mild amnestic cognitive impairment or mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. They divided the participants into three groups, with one group receiving 20 international units (IU) of insulin, one receiving 40 IU, and the third receiving an inactive saline placebo. The insulin dose or placebo was delivered daily through a nasal spray for four months.

Memory, cognition and functioning ability tests were conducted on the participants both before and after the four month period. The patients in the treated groups showed an increase in brain glucose metabolism following insulin therapy. Both insulin doses improved the patients' general cognition and functioning about 20%, and the 20 IU insulin dose also improved memory. The group receiving the placebo showed a slight decline in cognitive abilities. The treatment did not result in any major side effects, although some participants did report a mild headache or a runny nose.

Insulin appears to protect the brain against the toxic effects of beta-amyloid, the protein behind the brain plaques present in Alzheimer's. It also prevents the formation of a toxic form of the protein tau, a biomarker for Alzheimer's found in the cerebrospinal fluid. Insulin also promotes cell repair and growth, which may also help combat degenerative brain disease.

VA Chief Research and Development Officer Dr. Joel Kupersmith says, "VA researchers are exploring a number of possible approaches to help prevent of effectively treat this devastating disease, and these are among the most promising results to date." The research is even more important and encouraging because there is currently no effective treatment to delay or treat Alzheimer's disease.

There are a great many unanswered questions about the connection between insulin and Alzheimer's, and it's still premature to consider insulin a new treatment. Researchers still don't know much of the daily insulin injections required by many diabetics gets into the brain, and what effects it may have in the brain of the average diabetic.

Researchers are calling for further studies to explore the use of insulin to treat Alzheimer's, and to hopefully establish an optimal insulin dosage and dosing schedule. Any treatment which could improve the lives of the estimated 5.4 million Americans that suffer from Alzheimer's and their caregivers can not come soon enough.

Edible Film a Possible Insulin Delivery Platform

September 22nd, 2011

In another promising development in the world of diabetes medication, the specialty pharmaceutical company MonoSol Rx is testing its unique PharmFilm as a possible oral insulin delivery platform. PharmFilm is a quick-dissolving film that can be impregnated with medication and placed under the tongue or against the inside of the cheek. The medication is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth's mucosal membranes.

The FDA has already approved two applications of the edible film - Zuplenz to treat nausea and vomiting, and Suboxone to treat opiod dependence. MonoSol Rx is now testing two new applications for PharmFilm, one dispenses a drug to treat ADHD, and the other delivers insulin for diabetics.

Currently, insulin can only be administered through injection, as it is destroyed by acids in the digestive system. Because the postage stamp sized insulin film dissolves so quickly in the mouth, the diabetes medication bypasses the digestive tract and passes directly into the circulatory system.

MonoSol Rx and Midatech are just two of many companies racing to develop different ways to administer insulin without injections, including insulin patches, insulin inhalers, and insulin nasal sprays.

The insulin film can be manufactured in different sizes to accommodate different insulin dosages. The advantages of a dissolving insulin film for insulin dependent diabetics (especially children with diabetes and their caregivers) are obvious - no insulin injections; precise insulin dosing; a convenient, discreet and portable medication, and instant onset of action.

MonoSol Rx is collaborating with Midatech Group Ltd, a leading edge nanotechnology company which develops biocompatible nanoparticles (tiny synthetic molecules that are designed to carry and deliver drugs) to bring the oral diabetes medication to market. The insulin film has been successfully tested transbuccally (inside the cheek) in pigs and monkeys, and the partners plan to begin human trials this year.

A spokesperson for Midatech Group said, "The results of insulin PharmFilm in our primate study validate the film delivery of active insulin across the buccal mucosa for the first time. In addition, we have preclinical proof-of-concept that these results can be achieved in a controlled dose precisely tailored to suit individual needs. We anticipate results from our human clinical trials, slated to commence in the second quarter of 2011, to revolutionize treatment methods and insulin delivery for diabetics worldwide."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 24 million people in the United States are currently living with diabetes - the seventh leading cause of death in the country. Many of these diabetics (about 30%) are, or will become, insulin dependent and require insulin injections. Many are struggling with complications involving their heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, and circulation.

Insulin is a hormone which moves blood sugar into the cells to give the body energy. Diabetics either don't produce any insulin (type 1 diabetes), can't make enough insulin, and/or can't properly make use of the little insulin they do produce (type 2 diabetes).

Insulin "Master Switch" Discovered

September 26th, 2011

Australian researchers have discovered a gene that regulates other genes in beta cells - the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. What's more, they've discovered that this gene, called Id1, is "switched on" by a high fat diet.

"We're saying that Id1 is the molecular link between environmental factors - such as a high fat diet - and beta cell dysfunction," said Dr. Ross Laybutt from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, "Not only does the presence of Id1 appear to initiate all the other gene expression changes that take place in dysfunctional beta cells, its absence completely protects the beta cell."

Laybutt and his team intend to treat diabetic mice with a chemical compound that is already in development to block Id1 in cancer. If they can delay diabetes or improve insulin secretion in mice, they believe there is new hope for people with diabetes.

Theoretically, blocking Id1 could eliminate the need for diabetes medication for type two diabetics. To read the press release from Australia's Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, >Click Here.<

Woman Murders Husband with Massive Insulin Injection

September 29th, 2011

The prosecutor in Alicante, Spain has requested a prison term of 29 years for a woman accused of murdering her husband with a lethal insulin dose.

Fifty-one-year-old Gregoria CS, a Spanish woman on diabetes medication since 1998, was responsible for administering medication to her husband, Juan Antonio GC, diagnosed with HIV.

Gregoria allegedly first dosed her husband with insulin on March 30th, 2007 after a family row, resulting in his admission to hospital in a hypoglycemic crisis. He remained in hospital for a month.

On a second occasion on June 28th, 2010, she injected her sleeping husband in the neck with a massive dose using three insulin pens, and when he woke up smothered his cries for help with a pillow.

The next morning the couple's children raised the alarm when their father would not wake up.He was transferred to hospital in Elche with severe hypoglycemia and was stabilized, but remained in a vegetative state until his death on February 4th, 2011.

The woman had accused her husband of psychological abuse. The prosecutor's requested term of imprisonment comprises 11 years for the first murder attempt and 18 years for the second.

From the online newspaper, RoundTownNews.

$100,000 Reward Offered for Glucose-Sensitive Insulin

October 3rd, 2011

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) announced a $100,000 Challenge for the development of a new glucose-sensitive insulin medication that will be used in the treatment of patients with diabetes. The JDRF is a global organization that promotes awareness of Type 1 diabetes in addition to sponsoring research into new treatments for diabetes and educating diabetics about how to properly manage the disease.

The JDRF is utilizing the platform to issue the challenge. InnoCentive is a service that connects businesses and organizations seeking solutions to problems in a wide variety of fields with scientists and research teams who develop solutions custom-tailored for the "challenge."

The best solution is awarded a cash prize, usually between $10,000 and $100,000. The JDRF's challenge will award $100,000 to any research group that develops a diabetes medication that improves blood sugar management, lessens the need for frequent blood sugar testing, and reduces the risk of diabetic complications.

The winning solution will be a glucose-responsive insulin medication that senses glucose levels in the blood of the patient and automatically releases insulin into the bloodstream when necessary. A glucose-sensitive medication would require fewer insulin doses - a single dose a day, or even less - and would reduce the burden of frequent blood sugar testing and insulin injections for diabetics.

According to Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., assistant Vice President of Treatment Therapies at the JDRF, "Insulin treatment requires diligent monitoring and burdensome administration, often several times a day, every day. This remains the only way to regulate blood sugar levels for the millions of individuals with insulin dependent diabetes worldwide. Although research has propelled the development of better and faster-acting insulins, the disease is still hard to control because of the way insulin is administered to patients."

"What we need is sophisticated insulin that will take the guesswork out of managing diabetes by developing a novel insulin that works in the same way insulin works in people without diabetes," continued Dr. Kowalski. "By fostering novel approaches from diverse problem solvers within and outside the diabetes field, we hope this Challenge with InnoCentive will help speed progress toward the development of glucose-responsive insulin - progress urgently needed by people with diabetes." is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. The company's founders were first inspired to create a service connecting businesses with qualified researchers in 1998, and launched InnoCentive in 2001.

Novo Nordisk Files for Approval of Ultra Long Acting Insulin

October 5th, 2011


Novo Nordisk today announced the submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of two new drug applications for ultra-long-acting insulin degludec and the co-formulation, insulin degludec/insulin aspart. These insulin analogs have been developed for the treatment of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

"We are very excited about being able to file for the approval of insulin degludec and insulin degludec/insulin aspart now also in the US," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer at Novo Nordisk. "This is another significant milestone for Novo Nordisk and for the millions of people with diabetes who require insulin injections."

As with the European applications submitted on September 26, the U.S. filings are based on results from the BEGIN and BOOST clinical trial programs, which involved nearly 10,000 type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. Data from the trials have shown insulin degludec to lower blood glucose levels, while demonstrating a low rate of hypoglycemia, especially at night.

The trials also showed that insulin degludec can be administered once daily at any time of the day with the possibility to change the insulin injection time from day to day according to the needs of the individual patient.

Novo Nordisk intends to make both diabetes medications available in a prefilled insulin delivery device. In the clinical trials, insulin degludec was studied in insulin pens that could either deliver up to 80 units or in a concentrated formulation up to 160 units in a single injection.

Insulin degludec is an ultra-long-acting basal insulin analog discovered and developed by Novo Nordisk. It forms multi-hexamers upon subcutaneous injection, resulting in a soluble depot from which there is a slow, continuous and extended release of insulin degludec. This may contribute to a lowering of blood glucose levels and low rates of hypoglycemia, especially at night.

Insulin degludec/insulin aspart contains the ultra-long-acting basal insulin degludec with a bolus boost of insulin aspart. Insulin degludec/insulin aspart is the first and only soluble insulin co-formulation of ultra-long-acting insulin degludec and insulin aspart providing both fasting and post-prandial control.

Decade of Research Results in Discovery of a Diabetes Gene

October 11th, 2011

MADISON - Ten years of meticulous mouse breeding, screening, and record-keeping have finally paid off for Alan Attie and his lab members. The University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers' efforts, published Oct. 6 in the journal PLoS Genetics, pinpointed a gene that confers diabetes susceptibility in obese mice.

They also showed that the protein coded by the gene, called tomosyn-2, acts as a brake on insulin secretion from the pancreas. "It's too early for us to know how relevant this gene will be to human diabetes," says Attie, a UW-Madison biochemistry professor, "but the concept of negative regulation is one of the most interesting things to come out of this study and that very likely applies to humans."

In a properly tuned system, insulin secreted into the blood after eating helps maintain blood sugar at a safe level. Too little insulin (as in type 1 diabetes) or insulin resistance (as in type 2 diabetes) leads to high blood sugar and diabetic symptoms. Too much insulin can drive blood glucose dangerously low and lead to coma or even death in a matter of minutes.

"You can imagine that if you're in a fasted state, you don't want to increase your insulin, so it's very important to have a brake on insulin secretion," says Angie Oler, one of the lead authors. "It needs to be stopped when you're not eating and it needs to start again when you do eat."

The group honed in on tomosyn-2 while searching for genes that contribute to diabetes susceptibility in obese animals. Why study fat mice? To read the entire Press Release on FierceBiotech, >Click Here.<

Chewable Oral Diabetes Medication Enters Clinical Testing

October 12th, 2011

diabetes medication

Boston Therapeutics, Inc., a developer of diabetes therapeutics, announced the initiation of its first clinical trial of its investigational diabetes medication, PAZ320, when added to other oral diabetes medication or insulin injections in patients with type 2 diabetes. Boston Therapeutics is a leader in the specialized field of glyco-pathology, focused on understanding the importance of carbohydrates in biochemistry and the progression of diseases.

"We have already seen significant reduction of post-meal elevation of glucose in preclinical models with PAZ320," said David Platt, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Boston Therapeutics. "We are excited about our collaboration with endocrinologist Dr. Sushela Chaidarun, PhD. and Dr. Laura E. Trask at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, and the possibility to help millions of people with high blood sugar and diabetes."

PAZ320 is a chewable complex carbohydrate-based compound designed to reduce the post-meal elevation of blood glucose. A proprietary polysaccharide designed to be taken before meals, it works in the gastrointestinal system, blocking the action of the carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzymes that break carbohydrates down into glucose and release it into the bloodstream.

This clinical study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of PAZ320 when added to oral diabetes medications or insulin injections. The study population will consist of adults aged 18-75 years with type 2 diabetes, either on oral agents or insulin with a BMI of 25-35 kg/m2 and with A1c of less than 9.0%. The study will be conducted at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire - one of America's oldest and most respected medical schools

"Given the many complications that stem from uncontrolled diabetes, it is important to implement measures that will better control glucose levels throughout the day," said Dr. Trask, Co-Principal Investigator of the study, along with Dr. Chaidarun. "By providing another way to appropriately control the postprandial glucose increase following a meal, diabetics may better control their glucose level."

Boston Therapeutics has also developed SUGARDOWN, a chewable complex carbohydrate-based dietary supplement that is taken before carbohydrate-containing meals to reduce the absorption of glucose from the intestinal tract and moderate post-meal blood glucose.

Scientists Cure Diabetes in Rat's Using Animals Own Stem Cells

October 17th, 2011

diabetes cured in rats


Using stem cells that they extracted from the brains of diabetic lab rats, and turning them into insulin-producing pancreatic cells, Japanese scientists may be on the road to a virtual cure for diabetes that comes from people's own brains. Led by Tomoko Kuwabara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba Science City, Japan, a team of scientists extracted neural tissue from the rats' olfactory bulbs or their hippocampuses. The former is the part of the brain is involved with smell while the former is involved with memory.

Because of both sites' location in the brain, extraction was easily done through the nose. The rats involved had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The scientists then extracted stem cells from the tissue and applied a human protein to them, Wnt3a, which "switches on" insulin production.

After two weeks, the cells had multiplied to the point that the researchers could lay collagen sheets impregnated with them gently on top of the diabetic rats' pancreases. Seven days later, the concentration of insulin in the blood of all the rats, whether type 1 or type 2, matched that of non-diabetic rats. Blood glucose levels were normal. To read the entire story on, >Click Here.<

Discovery of Pancreatic Insulin Switches Could Lead to New Diabetes Drugs

October 19th, 2011

Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered how a hormone turns on a series of molecular switches inside the pancreas that increases the production of insulin. The finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, raises the possibility that new designer diabetes drugs might be able to turn on key molecules in this pathway to help the 80 million Americans who have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetic insulin resistance.

The molecular switches command pancreatic beta islet cells, the cells responsible for insulin, to grow and multiply. Tweaking these cells might offer a solution to type 1 diabetes, the form of diabetes caused by destruction of islet cells, and to type II diabetes, the form caused by insulin resistance.

"By understanding how pancreatic cells can be encouraged to produce insulin in the most efficient way possible, we may be able to manipulate those cells to treat or even prevent diabetes," says the study's lead author, Marc Montminy, a professor in the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology at Salk.

To read the full article on ScienceDaily, >Click Here.<

New Ultra Fast Acting Insulin Does Well in Clinical Trials

October 26th, 2011

insulin syringe

Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., a San Diego-based pharmaceutical company, recently announced that its new "ultrafast" insulin, PH20, worked just as well as Humalog in two Phase 2 clinical trials. PH20 is an insulin analog, a type of insulin that is not produced by the human body, but functions the same way as the insulin that the body produces.

The injectable insulin analog was as effective as another insulin analog - Eli Lilly's Humalog - at controlling blood sugar levels. In addition, PH20 was more effective than Humalog at controlling post-meal blood glucose levels. Rates of hypoglycemia were similar in PH20 insulin users, and the hypoglycemic episodes that did occur were generally mild and no more serious than those experienced by patients using Humalog.

Researchers studied the effects of the investigational diabetes medication on controlling blood sugar levels in two clinical trials conducted on about 220 participants. One study involved patients with Type 1 diabetes, and the other involved patients with Type 2 diabetes. There was a 50 percent increase in the number of patients who regularly met guidelines for healthy post-meal blood glucose levels among those using PH20 insulin injections.

PH20 insulin is delivered using rHuPH20, or recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme. Much of Halozyme's work is based on the subcutaneous delivery of medications with rHuPH20, which the company says decreases costs, increases efficiency, and makes medication more convenient for patients.

Halozyme said that it will be pursuing worldwide distribution of PH20, suggesting that it may be partnering with a larger pharmaceutical manufacturer.

TCM Approaches Diabetes Treatment

December 5th, 2011

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system that has been used in diagnosing and curing illness. It has been developed in China based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years. Now, TCM has been systematized in practice and has developed from the east to the western countries. It can effectively treat a variety of chronic illness, the body, mind, and spirit as a single entity.

Diabetes is a chronic disease with the high blood sugar in the body. The exact causes of diabetes are still not known. However, fatigue, lack of exercise, stress may play a role to develop diabetes. Diabetes cannot be cured, but appropriate treatment will help the blood sugar levels as normal as possible to prevent other health problems.

In the terminology of TCM, diabetes is also referred to "Wasting and Thirsting Disease". It is believed to be caused by a collapse of the Yin of the Kidney, the Spleen, or the Lungs. Many researches have shown that TCM can be helpful for treating diabetes mellitus with scientific evidence. For the best practices, it is important to identify which organ is involved by Chinese medical diagnosis.

The Chinese practitioner may choose to use one or combined techniques for the diabetic care. It may depend on the history, causes, symptom, and types of diabetes. The TCM treatment will focus on regulating the Qi and blood and balancing the organ systems in order to improve the function of pancreas and blood sugar levels.

TCM has too much to offer to diabetic patients. A variety of TCM therapies for diabetes and diabetes symptoms include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Dietary therapy
  • Herbal medicine
  • Massage
  • Qigong or Taiji Chuan exercise

For information on conventional treatment for diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association, or National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) . This is not an endorsement of this organization, just a resource guide.

Hepatitis B Vaccine Recommended for Diabetics

December 27th, 2011

The U.S. vaccine advisors recommend the hepatitis B vaccine for unvaccinated adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes aged 19 to 59.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommends the following:

? The vaccine should be done as soon as possible after adults in this age group are diagnosed with diabetes.

? Unvaccinated adults with diabetes who are older than 59 can receive hepatitis B vaccination at the discretion of their doctor.

People with diabetes were about twice as likely to develop acute hepatitis B compared who without diabetes. Between 700,000 and 1.4 million people in the United States are infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV), according to the report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 15 percent of patients with chronic HBV infection develop cirrhosis and liver. Chronic HBV infection damages the liver and can lead to serious illness and death.

The use of hepatitis B vaccine for diabetics is outlined in the Dec. 23 issue of the CDO's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A Diabetes Vaccine is One Step Closer

January 9th, 2012

Scientists in Sweden have recruited the patients for their diabetes vaccine. Fifty children with a high risk of developing type 1 diabetes have volunteered for the vaccine trial. All fifty children are healthy, but have been found to have an ongoing autoimmune process wherein their own immune system is killing their pancreas' beta cells (there are used for the regulation of blood sugar).

With this vaccine, called DiAPREV-IT, researchers vaccinate the children early as a preventive measure, when the children still have many beta cells left to save. It is the loss of these beta cells that can eventually lead to type 1 diabetes. As of now, there is no known cure or vaccine for type 1 diabetes.

For more information, see the original release here.

New Stem Cell Treatment that May Reverse Type 1 Diabetes

January 13th, 2012

A new study conducted by Dr. Yong Zhao, who is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Illinois depicts some very astonishing and exciting results relating to potentially reversing Type 1 diabetes in people suffering from the disease; the study used human cord blood stem cells to treat or "re-educate" the T-Cells in Type 1 diabetics.

Zhao found that using the cord blood stem cells helps to restart the pancreatic function and insulin production. The study which is published in BMC Medicine used 15 subjects all of whom suffers from Type 1 diabetes. Twelve participants had the treatment while three others made up a control group.

The 12 participants had their T-cells separated from their blood and pumped into a device that Zhao calls the "stem cell educator". There, the T-cells were exposed to cord blood stem cells for 3 hours. The stem cells in a way seemed to re-educate the T-cells, "They wake them up and correct their function. The stem cells are like a teacher. The T-cells are like a bad student," Zhao said about his study.

The T-cells were then pumped back into the participant's blood, and the patients were then checked out four times after the treatment at 4 weeks, then 12, 24 and 40 weeks later. The results were astounding; Zhao elaborates, "The patients couldn't make any insulin before the treatment. But after the treatment they began to make their own insulin- Their Autoimmune response was reversed."

One year later, the patients who received the treatment continue to manufacture some of their own insulin and eight have reduced their insulin shots by 38%. Zhao is confident that if the patients had more than treatment the results would be even more dramatic, and he plans to do another study with patients having multiple treatments to see if it is possible to totally reverse the loss of insulin production function.

Zhao is currently conducting a trial on 25 patients, and he stated the results are exciting but the study is not yet concluded.

Drinking Water Can Lower Diabetes Risk

January 17th, 2012

Proper hydration is one of the keys to healthy exercise, beautiful skin and general wellness. But did you know that it may also prevent diabetes?

French scientists tracked over 3000 men and women for almost a decade. After 9 years, 800 of those studied had developed type 2 diabetes or had high blood sugar. Those studied who drank the least water had a roughly 30% higher risk of developing high blood sugar than those who had consumed 17-34 ounces per day.

A hormone called vasopressin helps the body regulate water retention. While doing this, vasopressin also prompts the liver to produce blood sugar, which over time may strain the body's ability to produce or respond to insulin.

To read the full New York Times article, click here.

Novo to Open Type 1 Diabetes R&D Center in Seattle

January 26th, 2012

Novo Nordisk has announced to open a Type 1 Diabetes Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

The firm says the "unique concept" behind the new center is to "pursue a translational research approach characterized by combining basic research and early proof-of-concept trials under one umbrella". Novo claims that it will provide "the necessary scientific foundation to move early-stage discovery projects rapidly from animal models into small clinical exploratory trials in type 1 diabetes".

The center is expected to open this summer and will be staffed by 20 researchers. It will be located on the same premises as Novo's inflammation research center in Seattle "in order to foster natural research synergies between the two sites".

Click here for the full article from PRNewsWire. Buy Novolog online, get a FREE Novolog coupon.

Statins May Raise Your Risk of Diabetes

January 31st, 2012

Although they are one of the most widely-prescribed medications in the United States, statins have recently been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lipitor and Crestor.

The study, which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine, reported that women who were using statins at the start of the seven year study were nearly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than their non-statin-using counterparts. However, researchers stated that the benefits of statins are often more important than the risk of diabetes.

Although the reasons why statins may be causing diabetes are unclear, researchers hypothesize that the effects statins are having on the body may cause it to make slightly more sugar than usual. Statins may also cause the patient to exercise slightly less than usual, both of which are potential first steps to diabetes.

But for those patients at risk of heart disease, the lead researcher on the study was adamant that statins' benefits will greatly outweigh the risk of diabetes. In order to counteract any negative risks of statins, researchers say to increase your exercise, and be sure to frequently monitor your blood sugar.

"The conclusion still stands that overall, those people who've got existing heart disease or have had previous strokes, they still would get vast benefit from statins," says Naveed Sattar, a University of Glasgow diabetes and metabolism researcher.

New Study: 'Spam' Meats May Cause Diabetes

February 3rd, 2012

Processed meats have long been considered inferior to "real" cuts of meat, such as t-bone steaks, pork loins and chicken breasts. But how bad are they?

According to new study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, these processed meats may lead to diabetes. Diabetes, a disease in which the body can not properly regulate insulin, affects over -.Americans each year. Many of them have to buy Lantus or other long-acting insulin injections such as the newly released Bydureon.

In a study of 2000 Native American people from four different states, researchers discovered a correlation between high processed meat intake and the development of diabetes. Almost half of Native Americans will have developed diabetes by age 55. Researchers aimed to find a basis for these staggering statistics.

Processed meats are a hypothesized common denominator. With many Native Americans living in rural reserves, far from grocery stores, consumers often choose to buy foods with a longer shelf life. This leads to consumption of processed meats such as Spam, and other canned goods. Spam in particular is often seen on Native American lands as it is a government-subsidized food.

At the start of the study, none of the 2000 participants had diabetes. Five years later, with the average participants' age being 40 years, 243 of those surveyed had developed diabetes. Five hundred of the original participants had reported consuming a significant amount of processed meats.

Though there is no clear link as to why processed meats are more likely to cause diabetes than unprocessed meats, scientists hypothesize this may be caused by the significantly higher sodium levels in "spam" meats.

New Diabetes Drug Being Tested

February 27th, 2012

A new drug is currently being tested as a novel new way to control insulin production. The drug, which is currently in phase 2 clinical trials, is currently called TAK-875. The research, which was completed on 426 patients with type 2 diabetes, is being run by scientists out of the University of Michigan Health System. They published their results in this week's The Lancet.

TAK-875 is a free fatty acid receptor activator. The reason this drug is different from others, such as Amaryl or Duetact, is that it works in a glucose-dependant manner. That means that it only begins functioning when there is a significant amount of extra glucose in the system, such as after a meal. TAK-785 will then help the body with insulin production. Previous medications that are reputed to help produce insulin in this way are working in the body all the time, which significantly raises the risk of hypoglycemia, a dangerous lowering of blood glucose levels.

TAK-785, when used over 12 weeks, resulted in significantly lower blood glucose levels than a placebo. It was also generally well tolerated, with very few negative side effects being reported. To conclude, the researchers stated "TAK-875 significantly improved glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes with minimum risk of hypoglycemia. The results show that activation of FFAR1 is a viable therapeutic target for treatment of type 2 diabetes."

In order to be brought to market, TAK-785 will have to complete more rigorous FDA testing as it goes through phase 3 clinical trials, which involves a significantly more populated randomized trial.

FDA Issues Warning for Statins

February 29th, 2012

The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued a new warning for statins this week. Statins, a group of drugs designed to lower cholesterol, include such popular medications as Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor. These warnings also apply to combination statins, such as Advicor and Simcor.

After the results of multiple studies, the FDA has warned statins users about the risk of raised blood sugar levels, which may lead to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. The FDA also warned about reports of statins causing memory loss and confusion. However, they also remind doctors and patients about statins' proven ability to reduce the risk of heart attack. Although the risks associated with taking statins disappeared after the medications were no longer taken, it may cause more harm than good in regards to a patient's cardiac health.

The FDA's warning will now be added to the medication information on new shipments. For more information, see the original release here.

New Diabetic Treatment - Artificial Pancreas

March 5th, 2012

Clinical trials are currently being run for a treatment that may change the lives of diabetics. Instead of scheduled blood sugar checks, diabetics with an artificial pancreas can sleep through the whole night. The artificial pancreas is designed to digitally monitor a patients glucose levels and adjust them when the get too high or too low.

When it becomes main stream, the bionic pancreas will be about the size of a cell phone, but for clinical trials the patients are hooked up to laptops. The device uses algorithms to determine how much insulin is needed and at which time. There are two parts under the skin, one to detect the patients' glucose levels, and the other to inject the appropriate amount of insulin, or if necessary, the bionic pancreas can also inject Glucagon, a medication designed to rapidly raise dangerously low blood sugar levels.

The trials are currently only for adults and children in hospitals. For safety reasons, they are constantly monitored. The researchers are hoping to have this product on the market in the coming years, with patients being fitted with their artificial pancreas, monitored, and then sent home, no longer having to worry about lancets, insulin injections or what/how much they are eating.

Until the artificial pancreas has passed many more obstacles and testing, diabetics will have to continue their medication and monitoring regimens. In order to make it slightly easier, doctors may recommend that you buy Januvia, or other medications for type 2 diabetes to help regulate your blood sugar. .

Manage Diabetes with Your Smartphone; New App for Diabetics

March 16th, 2012

A new device available in the UK will enable diabetics to manage their condition with a Smartphone.

Diabetes affects 2.9 million people in the UK and monitoring blood glucose levels is essential to the management of diabetes; Especially those with type - 1 diabetes, an auto immune disease that can lead to dangerous rises in blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications including damage to the heart, kidney's, nerves and eyes.

The new device called the iBGStar, allows sufferers to check their blood sugar levels at any time using their Smartphone; the hi-tech glucose monitor being sold out of Boots stores is about 1 inch long and attaches to the Apple iphone or ipod touch.

The device comes with a free Diabetes Manager App that makes it possible to store, track and analyse medical data. Software carries out the analysis and flashes the results onto the screen. It also allows users to follow changing trends and variations, and factors in information such as carbohydrate intake, insulin injections and exercise.

Dominic Littlewood, a TV presenter who is helping to promote the device and is a diabetes sufferer himself said "I lead a hectic lifestyle and so keeping an eye on my blood glucose levels is challenging. iBGStar gives me the reassurance of knowing that I can get accurate blood glucose results using my iPhone, which I carry around anyway."

Sarah Johnson, from the type-1 diabetes research charity JDRF, said: "Good blood glucose control is vital to reducing the long-term effects of diabetes, but it can be difficult and demanding to achieve. As such, we welcome all developments in technology that can help people with type-1 and type-2 diabetes take control of their condition."

White Rice Raises Risk of Diabetes

March 20th, 2012

White rice is joining white bread as a contributor to the development of diabetes. According to new research, a eating a significant amount of white rice may raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially in Asian populations. It is not just the white rice though. Researchers say that the high intake of white rice in Asian populations, combined with modern life's more sedentary lifestyles, are what is leading to these results.

Researchers believe white rice is creating a high diabetes risk due to its high glycemic index; it has a significantly higher glycemic index than that of most other whole grains, due to its processing. The report also showed that this diabetes risk was also higher in women than in men. According to their calculations, Asians who ate a large amount of white rice were 55% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate less. The researchers noted only a 27% higher risk in other racial populations.

Although four studies were done, other scientists are suggesting that a more controlled trial will need to be completed in order for this to be seriously taken into consideration when creating one's diet.

Surgery May Reverse Effects of Diabetes

March 30th, 2012

Two new studies have been published stating that gastric bypass surgery may be a useful new tool in diabetes treatment. The results of the two studies show that the surgery drastically reduces the symptoms of diabetes, or in some patients, it disappears altogether. Doctors are unsure why exactly this surgery works so well for Type 2 diabetes sufferers, but some believe it is due to hormone changes. This surgery is only available for diabetic patients with a body mass index of 35 or higher.

A typical woman has a body mass index between 19 and 25. According to researchers on the study, one diabetic woman who underwent the surgery now only uses 10 milligrams of insulin per day; she was taking nine times that pre-surgery. Unfortunately gastric bypass surgery doesn't have the same effect on Type 1 diabetics. This is due to their fundamental differences. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune disorder, whereas type 2 is generally a complication of obesity. While the pounds melt off, so do the symptoms of diabetes.

Gastric bypass surgery uses a band to segregate the stomach into two pouches. The doctors then reattach the small intestine to the upper half of the stomach, which is now significantly smaller. Bariatric surgeons typically only perform this type of surgery on someone who is morbidly obese, which is a body mass index or 40 or more. They will also perform gastric bypass on a patient with a body mass index of 35, if they also have a 'co-morbid condition' such as diabetes.

If you are not currently accepted for this type of surgery, you will have to control your diabetes using long acting insulins such as Lantus or Levemir. We recommend that you buy anti-diabetes medications online, at a Canadian pharmacy. This will significantly reduce the financial burden caused by a long term disease such as diabetes.

To see the original release, click here.

Diabetes Drug Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

June 28th, 2012

Metformin (brand names: Fortamet, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza), a widely prescribed drug for diabetes 2, may reduce the risk of breast cancer in some women, recently study said.

According to the research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Metformin use in postmenopausal women with diabetes was associated with lower incidence of invasive breast cancer.

During the 12 years of follow-up, 3,273 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed. The researchers compared breast cancer risk in diabetic women on different diabetes medicines to breast cancer risk in non-diabetic women.

? Diabetic women treated with other medicines for diabetes had a slightly higher than average risk of breast cancer than women without diabetes

? Diabetic women treated with metformin had a 25% lower likelihood of developing breast cancer compared to women without diabetes

Other studies have suggested that diabetes drug Metformin may help lower the risk of prostate, pancreatic, liver and oral cancer, and a reducing incidence of a variety of cancers.

Metformin Side Effects

Metformin may have a dual effect on diabetes and cancer cells via an insulin mediated mechanism. It is well tolerated for most people but also has side effects. Here are a few to be aware of:

? Diarrhea

? Headache

? Indigestion

? Loss of appetite

? Weight loss or gain

? Nausea

? Stomach upset

Notify your doctor immediately if you experience any severe symptoms!

Visit the Breast Cancer Prevention section and generic Femara 2.5 mg drug to understand breast cancer prevention and numerous ways to reduce your breast cancer risk.

Can Type 1 Diabetes Increase the CVD Risk?

July 26th, 2013

Type 1 diabetes can cause many other health problems for its sufferers, and it is a constant battle for some people with diabetes to keep up with their symptoms and treatments. According to some studies, patients with type 1 diabetes may be as much as 10 times more likely to develop a cardiovascular disease, or CVD.

For those who suffer with type 1 diabetes, there is a shortage of insulin in their cells, which is brought on by a malfunctioning immune system. The immune system attacks the pancreas cells that produce insulin, and as a result, the diabetes patient will end up with too much sugar in the bloodstream, as it travels there instead of the cells where it should go. Although genetics plays a role in who gets type 1 diabetes, there are also environmental factors, although the exact causes have yet to be pinned down.

CVD is a generic term that covers illnesses that may take place throughout the circulatory system, whether it is a heart disease such as angina or coronary artery disease, or a vascular disease, which affects the blood vessels, like aneurism or blood clotting disorders. Of course there are many other examples of CVD, and heredity as well as being overweight or obese, lacking in exercise, and eating the wrong foods can cause or contribute to most of these conditions.

Type 1 diabetes can make arteries harden at a quicker rate than normal, a condition known as atherosclerosis, and diabetes sufferers often have lower levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. Type 1 diabetes also affects the kidneys, which can bring about dangerously high blood pressure, or hypertension. The combination of these effects can add up to be a recipe for disaster, as these conditions are often contributors to heart attack or stroke.

In order to stay as healthy as possible, and to try and avoid developing CVD, those who have diabetes should try to be vigilant about their diets. Eating whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, and cutting back on fat can go a long way. It also pays to make your calories count, by avoiding drinks that are high in sugar and low in nutrients. They do nothing to curb your hunger or fill you up, yet they contribute greatly to weight gain and other problems. Soda is obviously an issue, but fruit juice isn't as good for you as just eating fruits and it can pack more calories.

Lean proteins, which can be found in fish and nuts, are also preferable over red meats. And cutting back on salt will help keep you from elevating your blood pressure as well.

Another major help in the fight against CVD is exercise. You don't have to spend hours at the gym every day to make yourself healthier. However, trying to walk more each day, along with lifting weights can not only make you look better, but may help you relieve some stress as well. And stress, of course, is another contributor to CVD issues, so anything you can do to alleviate that will help as well.

The Link between Diabetes and Disability

August 6th, 2013

A new study done by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia has found that elderly people with diabetes have an increased risk of disability when compared to elderly persons without diabetes. Over the last thirty years, diabetes rates around the world have more than doubled. There are nearly 350 million adults who have diabetes, per an estimate from the World Health Organization. Common afflictions associated with diabetes include kidney problems, vision problems, and heart disease.

Specifically, those seniors that suffered from diabetes were found to have more than a fifty percent higher risk of also suffering from a disability. Anna Peeters, who serves as the head of obesity and population health at the Institute stated, "We found that diabetes increased the risk of disability by 50 percent to 80 percent compared to those without diabetes, and this result was consistent across all types of disability. The results of this study are particularly important in the context of an aging population and increasing diabetes prevalence over time. In combination, this suggests a substantial increase in the burden of disability in the elderly in coming decades."

The study defined disability as including things like managing a check book, running errands (called instrumental activities of daily life), difficulty in walking or with movement (called impaired mobility in the study), and troubles with daily functions (called activities of daily living in the study) such as bathing or eating. The study involved a review of data and information from over twenty-five prior studies that analyzed disability in people that suffered from diabetes, and disability in people that did not suffer from diabetes. The various studies reviewed and analyzed conducted post-study visits for anywhere from eighteen months to nearly ten years. The smaller studies reviewed and analyzed had as few as 369 participants, while the larger studies had as many as 66,000 participants. Most of the individuals in the studies were aged fifty-five years or older. Participants in the reviewed studies were often asked to go through physical examinations and tests regarding how fast they could walk or how well they could balance.

Many of the studies did not distinguish between type I and type II diabetes, but Peeters stated that most of the patients likely suffered from type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is often called adult onset diabetes. Type I diabetes is often called juvenile diabetes because of when it develops. Approximately ninety percent of those suffering from diabetes today suffer from type II diabetes - the type often associated with being overweight and inactive.

Peeters also indicated that most of the studies did not determine how managing a person's diabetes would affect their risk of developing a disability. Although the study was not crystal clear as to the link between diabetes and the increased rates of disability in the elderly, it was theorized that those persons suffering from each share common attributes, such as being overweight and a fairly non-active lifestyle. The review by the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute included those factors, as well as other factors that are seen in both persons with diabetes and disabilities. Peeters also opined that other conditions associated with having a high blood sugar, such as inflammation, contribute to the potential to develop a disability.

Healthy BMI does not mean Immunity from Diabetes

February 12th, 2014

Diseases and measures tend to have trends these days. People tend to check themselves with measures and other indices to check if they are at risk of an infection or a disorder or a disease. Earlier people were weight conscious and tended to fast and starve till they became a stick.

Now it is all about BMI

BMI or Body Mass Index is a measure by which one can check if the weight distribution in the body is correct. So depending on where the fat rests, one could tell if they suffer from any disease or would be prone to it.

Obesity is definitely a factor but not the only one

An obese person is an overweight person. This person would have accumulated a lot of fat leading to problems like blocked arteries, veins and other such problems. Both types of diabetes tend to make the body lose weight. With type I, the muscles simply lose their detection to allow sugar to accumulate in them. So, they would not allow the person to gain weight. This person would have weight loss and a slim frame. The person still has problems of diabetes. Is it not?

One should see where the fat is distributed

As such, a person with a thin frame but a pot belly could be the perfect example for a person with a not so good health. When fat accumulates in the legs or the arms, it is not considered to be harmful. The fat that accumulates in the heart or the liver or the kidney tends to cause the harm.

This fat could slowly accumulate, leading to swelling of the organs and blocking proper blood flow and hence progressive degeneration of the organ due to lack of oxygen availability.

The pancreas is a typical example

Whenever the fat accumulates on an organ, it tends to lose the flexibility and functionality. The pancreas has a lock like system which detects glucose and produces insulin. This insulin breaks down the glucose.

Imagine what will happen if the lock system fails? Of course the pancreas will lose its ability to produce insulin properly. This would lead to increased sugar levels and hence other complications which lead to diabetes type II.

Similarly think of what will happen to the lungs, heart and the kidneys? What if they all fail to do their work and not serve their purpose? The entire system and body will collapse and lead to undesired consequences.

So, a BMI alone does not indicate it all

From this, we can see that the BMI cannot be indicative of absence of any problem. The weight might be ideal to the height but, if there is fat in the abdomen and other areas like the heart or other places, then one could face problems of diabetes and other disorders.

As such, it would be great to follow a good lifestyle, healthy eating habits and exercise regularly. One need not worry much about new trends in indices and indications.